If you're reading this with your morning coffee in hand, there’s a good chance I’m on a plane.
Actually, there’s a better chance I’m sleeping on the floor of the Chicago airport (the result of some wacky overnight flights and long layovers). Don’t kick me if you walk by.
This little trip started out simply enough. With tons of frequent flyer miles and a fairly flexible schedule, I decided to journey to south Georgia to meet up with longtime critique partner Cynthia Reese. We've swapped manuscripts, moral support, and recipes for 6+ years. It's about time we met in person.
Things snowballed from there. When I realized several other writer pals resided in the same region, I cobbled together a series of three-legged flights and long layovers that allow me to meet up with Harley May and Elizabeth Flora Ross (both of whom I know from Twitter) and my hilarious agency sistah Linda Grimes. I'm now undertaking a week-long trip with stops in three different states.
The whole thing fascinates me. If you'd told me a year ago I'd be traveling 3,000 miles to hang out with four women I'd never met in my life – three of whom I'd never even heard of at that point – I would have assumed you'd been drinking too much Chianti.
After I asked you to pour me some, I would have considered how wise my agent may be in her suggestion that I hurl myself into the pool of social media.
She is wise – having this blog and spending time on Twitter has been an amazing opportunity for a no-name, debut author like me to build a little momentum for my book release.
But more importantly, it's given me the chance to make some really amazing friendships. Real friendships, the kind worth flying clear across the country for with the slight risk my "friends" might turn out to be 300-pound serial killers with a fondness for collecting dead authors' lingerie to sell on eBay.
Assuming I survive and get to keep my underwear, I'm going to think of this trip every time I hear an author scoff at the value of social media like Facebook and blogging and Twitter. Those pursuits take time, no doubt about it. But the rewards are worth it in ways you probably can't begin to imagine.
On that note, it's likely my blogging will be sporadic next week. I'll do my best to post a photo or an amusing little anecdote if I have time and an internet connection, but I make no promises.
In the meantime, you can follow my journey on Twitter under the hashtag #southerntweetup. You can also stop by The Debutante Ball today to hear my take on all the buzz surrounding the release of The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (one of the other four authors making up this year's Deb class).
Oh, and if any of you are at the Chicago airport between 4:30 and 8 a.m. Friday morning, will you wake me up in time for my next flight?