Who You Write With – Reboot

2 Apr

In redoing the blog’s look, I had to create a new room for my writing group. It’s really obvious. It’s right there, the bottom page. But the problem is, this is for a specific group. Not just anyone — no matter how obvious the link is.

About a year ago, I had someone yell at me on twittet. Someone I didn’t even know asked where The Secret Room (TSR) was so she could come write with us. I’m not kidding when I said I had no idea who she was. Neither did any of the Roomers.

I tried to explain nicely that this was a writing circle and not an open room. <insert explosion here>

So, in response I wrote Who You Write With.

Since it was on my mind, I thought it could be our first Reboot. So, here it is, Who You Write With… My own commentary included in blue (how often do you get to do commentary on yourself!)


When I first started writing, everyone I met talked about their CPs (critique partner) and how they were so great and saved their writing and kept them sane and fixed the small things and held their hand and every other great thing you need when starting this crazy writing journey.

I looked everywhere for one of these groups or just that one person {{Even now I remember this. That desperate search to find someone to walk the writing-path with. Don’t give up! You’ll find not only partners, but friends and peers and magic.}}  A few horrible matches later, someone said, why don’t you try Romance Divas. There I met several other newer writers who wrote in a chat room. We were great together. Without telling you the long story, the group became known as the FlanTastics and everything was good in the world. {{Meeeemmmmorrriiiess}}

{{Deleted Backstory — Man, I was wordy that day!}}

We talk about the room. The Secret Room isn’t a … um, secret. We talk about it on twitter, we call each other out publicly if there’s been no writing lately, we make sure people are knowledgable about who comes in when to write.

I understand everyone wants to find a good group. I also understand that twitter makes everyone feel accessible.

We’re not. You’re not either (protect your writing too). The virtual world is the same as the real world. Unfortunately, we don’t get to go everywhere we want. {{This is true of a lot of online situations. Remember, at the end of those words is a real person. If you wouldn’t do/say/etc something in person, maybe you should think twice about doing it online.}}

Now, I can hear the “that’s not fairs” (which I got one of also) and the You’re being snobby and the Does this mean she doesn’t like me’s…

I’m going to say a couple harsh things here and I’m typically not a harsh speaker.

  1. It isn’t about you. It’s about me/us and our writing. We’ve been burnt, that’s why we went rogue.  {{To be more clear: We say no to everyone. It’s not a judgment. Most groups only function at a certain size. Once you find what works for you, keep it working.}}
  2. You can go rogue too. {{And you should! Every writer needs tofigure out what’s going to work for her. Worldbuilding doesn’t just happen in your writing. It happens in your writing life. Build the structure you need to get it done. Groups, friends, partners, etc are great! But they don’t get your words on your page – you do!}}
  3. There’s nothing wrong with asking for an invite to writer’s events:
    1. ASK being the operative word
    2. Graciously accepting whatever the answer is makes you look… um, gracious
    3. {{I’ve seen people get turned down for an opportunity and handle it with such grace that it made me want to work with them. Don’t burn bridges. I’ve had doors that were closed open up again later by having good relationships with people.}}
  4. Writing groups have zero to do with liking people. I have tons of people I adore that I wouldn’t let near my writing or writing group. {{This. So much this.}}
  5. If you’re pushy, that’s going to not be a good sign. See #3

So, basically, I felt horrible protecting the room. I thought “Oh, should I stop talking with my writing group publicly? Do I need to lock down my twitter account and unfollow people so I can have a friend-to-friend conversation? Am I just going to have to play the bad guy all the time?”

But then I realized — we all go through this. {{This is something that’s never going to change. Every new writer is going to struggle to look for her place in the world. And let me tell you something else, as your friends get published or stop writing or change genres or have anyone of a bazillion other shifts in their lives, you’re going to go through this again… That search for where you fit. But, remember: your writing isn’t about where you fit. Your writing is about the work you do. And you can do that anywhere.}}

PROTECT THE GROUP/PROTECT THE WRITING – all of us, every day, every time. Yes, that means you too.  Protect (find) your group/Protect your writing. {{Yes. Again. This.}}

Oh, and the other thing we learned, Yes, I do have the chutzpah to block someone. I didn’t think I did. BWAAHHHAAAA


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