by Reba J Hoffman
I’ve always been very independent. In fact, when my Native American mom wouldn’t see me for hours on end, she finally named me “Winds of Autumn”. She said trying to pin me down was like trying to catch the wind and put it in a box.
So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to embrace the idea that I needed to be around other writers. Somehow, it just didn’t seem like a team sport to me. I was perfectly fine with going at it alone…or so I thought.
The truth is we have to surround ourselves with those who are like us. No, not those who all dress in white shirts with pocket protectors, black pants, white socks, and black patent leather shoes. That’d just be creepy. I’m referring to those with similar goals, journeys and dreams.
- They understand you. If I say, “Shhhh, the voices in my head are talking,” to my therapist colleagues, they might want to do a psychiatric evaluation. But if I tell my fellow novelists, they totally understand. It’s completely normal.
- It’s less lonely. Isn’t even a daunting task more fun when you have someone to do it with? Writers can meet regularly at Barnes and Noble or your favorite spot for coffee, computers and companionship.
- They can relate. They’ve been there or they are walking the path right now. They can warn you about the hazardous curve ahead or the bumps in the road. And, you can do that for others.
- It’s less tiring. Ever see migratory birds flying together? From a distance, it may appear they stay in the same position but no one fowl shoulders the load alone. Each of them takes a turn flying into the wind. The other birds draft behind, drafting off the bird in front of them. So it is with authors. Why invent the wing?
- It broadens your horizons. You have never walked in someone else’s shoes. Being able to see life through their eyes deepens your knowledge and can give you more well-rounded plots and characters.
I guess what I’m saying is don’t be like me. I really lived up to Winds of Autumn. Looking back I realize that was a hard, agonizing way to fly. So gather your flock and perch somewhere together. The eggs you lay will hatch into an awesome bird!