Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Organic or Contrived: the Writing Community

While others were studying their writerly craft, I was white water rafting. With husband. On the Salmon. In 110 degree weather. Oh yes, indeed, it was a delightful anniversary weekend.

I didn't write all weekend. I wasn't even worried about missing out on PNWA this year. I knew Dave was attending, and he'd certainly fill me in. Err...all of us in, that is. And dear friend, Kenneth Schultz (you will see his name in print one day, and you will love his books, I assure you!) has already emailed me his notes on the event.
Picture credit: riverraftingresource.com

Why do I mention this? Because I have a Writing Community. And it's an organic one; one that grows and ebbs and flows and adapts and evolves. It's not contrived. It's not structured. It's based on relationships and common interests and that overarching goal of publishing. It nourishes me -- and I, too, nourish others. (Ummm...hopefully, anyway.)

Why is this important? The Adventures in Writing Team is also organic. Although we've come together as a team to blog about writing adventures, we really only have one rule: write about writing. It prompts me to think, however, about Writing Communities in general.

What do I want from a Writing Community?

  • I want timely advice
  • I want tips on the publishing world
  • I want commiseration or encouragement or "hang in there" hope
  • I want reminders on how not to reinvent the wheel
  • I want updated information on agents and who's looking for what
  • I want stories on how not to do, say, act, or write something

When I post on this blog, these are the thoughts swirling in my head. How do I best serve the needs of this Writing Community? As Adventures in Writing enters its fifth month of existence, we are looking for ways to best meet your needs as a writer. So wherever you are on your own writing adventure, please feel free to leave a comment, drop an email, tweet me, and let us all know: What burning question or confusing topic are you currently grabbling with? What do you wish you'd known when you first started out on the publishing journey? What was it that you didn't even know you didn't know?

We don't promise answers, but we do promise serious contemplation. Or at least looking serious as we look contemplative.


  1. Show, don't tell.

    *runs screaming from the blog*

  2. Alex,
    I love white water rafting. I'd love to get thoughts on this blog about switching genres (timing w/ that and whether agents look down at that).

    Glad you had a great experience on the water!
    ~ Wendy

  3. @Aimee States: hmmm...is this advice for me? advice you wish you'd had once upon a time? advice for all of us? or simple instructions for a certain circus act that shall remain unnamed?

    @Wendy: thanks :) hope you get some water fun in this summer. As for switching genres, that's a great topic. I've actually heard several agents discuss that very thing. Thanks for the idea...

  4. I'd say a rule, but the truth is that there has been value in my journey. I'd say I wish I knew it would take me 6 years and three novels to get to the point of obtaining an agent, but then that would have spoiled the ride.

    Love the pic, btw. We did the Salmon two years ago. This year we rafted the Gallatin up in Montana. Love it.

  5. Wendy,

    As long as you are not published and well known in a particular genre, then changing genres is not a problem.

    When you do get well known, then you might want to do what some famous writers do, write in a different genre under a different name.

    When going for an agent there's no need to mention that you write in different genres. They are usually looking at whatever book you are pitching, and whether or not they can sell it. Yet another reason to pitch them only one book at a time.

    My $.02

  6. Oh the things I didn't even know I didn't know. That list is endless, or so it sometimes seems.

    I didn't know there were specific word counts based on genres. Who knew I could stop writing that one manuscript at 110,000 words???

    I didn't know that most people only put one space after a period(.)! I mean, seriously, shouldn't this news have made headlines somewhere????

    I didn't know . . .

    Well there was so much I didn't know, and still don't know, so I work my way through the blogsphere day after day, endlessly, eternally, and glean what useful tidbits of information I can!


  7. "Advice you wish you'd had once upon a time?"

    I need HALP! *faint*

    It seems like everyone is blogging about everything else but HOW to say what we're trying to say. I feel like I'm on the verge of a big secret here, but it's so obvious to everyone else. I simply CANNOT keep hitting myself in the head with a frying pan. My dunce cap is crushed.

  8. I will try to fill everybody in on the PNWA conference, or at least my experience with it. I'm still in a bit of a daze: just moved to Minnesota, just flew to Seattle and back, just completed an intense two day training at my new job. So many new things. Still have half the boxes in the garage to unpack. The good news is that I have had requests from agents and an editor. I've got to get that out ASAP. That's pretty much the news.

    I do appreciate the comments about all of us having a community.

    By the way, that's awesome that you and your husband did the rafting trip. Cool adventure!!!

  9. @Tess: we had a blast. Gallatin sounds awesome too! we'll have to check it out :)

    @douglas: you are too right. but why'd you steal my post idea?! :P

    @scott: it's almost overwhelming, you know, looking back and thinking about all that you've learned about the business end of writing. at least it is for me. i'm still learning so much! some days i wish all i had to do was write. but there's so much more than "just writing" and if you don't pay attention, you miss out!

    @aimee: :) you've got a kick-butt sense of humor. i imagine your work is full of it too

    @dave: congrats!! that is so awesome --> requests are good things. i know you've been so so so busy; good job of keeping on top of everything


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