It Takes A Village
I’ve been so stuck in my head at times that I eventually lost sight of what I was supposed to be doing. I was so tied up with whether or not a shirt should be blue that I missed the main goal of advancing the plot. Sub-plots are fun but they shouldn’t be all there is.
I sat back and tried to pinpoint what made it so hard sometimes. Enter in procrastinating with M.J. and bam, there it was. I needed feedback. My writing flourished when I had someone to brainstorm or just toss vague ideas at. That’s what missing. That’s the village. In raising my novel off the ground, I needed support and that’s where extra minds came in handy. I didn’t have to go at it alone.
If you’re anything like me, or worse, then you need to get into a writing community. Try deviantArt. The amount of writing groups there can be overwhelming. I’m in three: Amateur Writing, Writer’s Workshop, and CRLiterature. I’d be in more if I trusted strangers not to steal my novel but for what I do use them for, they’re great. You can submit your work to the group to get feedback, readers, watchers, or exposure alone. The deviantArt community is an active one (and most are strict copyright supporters so there isn’t much need to fear theft) so I haven’t really branched out to other forums.
I read about The Desk Drawer in a Writer’s Digest newsletter a few weeks ago and naturally I checked it out. They’re a writing exercise group/workshop. It works via email: you email your response to the admission prompt (there’s a format you have to follow) and they let you know, based on your writing ability, if you’re accepted or not. To keep your membership, you have to submit/email at least 3 posts per month. Sound easy? Well the posts have to include a critique post. They prefer 2 critiques for every 1 submission but I’ll let you figure out the technicalities.
There’s always Wattpad if exposure is more important than active or instant feedback. Same goes for WordPress and most other blog or journal styled sites. It takes time to gain a following and get readers that will comment. To avoid this I say look at the people around you and pull them into a chat. The people closest to you are your fresh eyes. They know you so well that I doubt they’ll try to fluff your ego and they most likely have their own genre they like reading that might not be yours. They’re a goldmine. Use them. Should you take my advice, I nominate two programs to help keep track of things and give them time away from your nagging.
Google Docs: upload your document or create a new one and paste in what you want to share. There is a group chat option that is off to the side so you never have to switch between tabs.
TitanPad: I recommend TitanPad for anybody who wants to work on something in a group and doesn’t need to have it saved for all time. It’s also good for people who wants something quick and easy.
Both Google Docs and TitanPad have real-time editing so you can chat, read, write, and edit at the same time. I also use Skype when I work with M.J. but that’s broad and it doesn’t section things off the way I’d like. I end up copying and pasting the important parts to a document for later. You don’t have to do that if you use Google Docs or TitanPad. It saves the conversation and the work.
I’m sure there are other ways to get your village. Get out there and start building. You can also tag my name on a door. I’m always up for helping a fellow writer even if it’s with an essay.
Have another way to help the talker in you? That’s what comments are for! Let us know what helps you.