Thursday, September 20, 2012

A tribe of perverts and sexual deviants

Being the lone romance writer on a book tour of 28 Oregon authors is an odd experience. If anyone sees you smiling, they assume you’ve been doing something torrid.

They may have a point.

I’ve had a great time being part of the Crazy 8s Author Tour, and I’m stoked to head to Cannon Beach this Saturday for our next tour stop.

I couldn’t help noticing a common theme in the speeches given by my fellow authors at our first event last weekend. Many poked fun at themselves for using Facebook to procrastinate book deadlines. Some made reference to Twitter, and during the Q&A portion of the presentation we fielded several audience questions about writers’ groups.

Are we all a bunch of social media addicts with the attention span of a porn addict at a nude beach?

Possibly, but there’s more to it than that.

A few weeks before my agent landed me my three-book deal for romantic comedies, I was laid off from my job in marketing and corporate communications. I spent the next nine months living the dream of being a full-time, stay-at-home writer.

As it turned out, the dream wasn’t nearly as fun as the one where I’m flying naked around a room full of firemen.

Left to stew in my introvert juices, I’d go for days without leaving the house. As my volume of outside stimuli decreased, so did my creativity. During that lonely nine months, fellow writers in the social media realm became my support system, my friends, my tribe.

There’s something powerful about being part of a group of people who share your passions and creative quirks. It’s one thing I love about the work environment at my part-time day job, and something that fascinates me about the instantaneous chemistry that erupts when groups of writers get together.

It’s been said that writing is a solitary profession, but I’ve never believed that. Without other people around to stimulate my brain and offer a sense of belonging, my creative juices shrivel like a skin pencil in an ice bath.

Whether you’re a writer or someone with a slightly more sane profession, do you crave the camaraderie of other like-minded professionals? Do you sometimes have to work to find it? Please share.

And for the record, I probably am up to something torrid.


Patty Blount said...

YES! I'm nodding as I read... I agree completely. One thing that TERRIFIES me is that I'll never have another idea for a book. I hear so many authors say they see ideas everywhere and have to juggle which one to write next.

It doesn't work like that for me. I love hanging out with other writers because of that like-mindedness you describe... they help me see the potential. For example, last year at about this time, our area was hit by a hurricane and I was without power for 8 days. Some of the members of my writing group invited me out to dinner with them. I told them I had no ideas, so they asked me what finished novels I had in the trunk.

Well, I still can't believe it but by the time dinner was done, I had ideas for not 1 but 3 new YA stories.

All from 90 minutes with other writers :)

Skye said...

As someone who has been mostly unemployed off and on for the past 3 years (eek), I can agree with the need for contact with like minds. Mine comes in from email and IM and Skype. Turns out I live so far away from everything that even an RWA meeting would be over an hour for me to get to (there are two chapters in Houston and they are both on the west side: go figure!). But my introversion makes just going out and joining people I don't know a bit difficult. Work would be easier. Forced socialization.

Perhaps I'd feel more inspired to revise my novel if I had some more people contact.

Or I should just get on Twitter when you are and stalk, I mean follow you. :D

Anonymous said...

I've been out of work for close to 3 years now. 1 1/2 of those years I was in college so I got a small outside world as far as people in my classes. But for the last 1 1/2 years I have had little to no outside life. I rarely leave the house at all anymore and I only see someone other then my husband when we go to his dads house on Sunday to watch football. That's it. Other then the occasional doctor appointment or run to the bank I have nothing that makes me venture outside my house. And I hate it. I love not having a "structured job" but I hate not having friends to go out with or more I hate not having money to go out and meet friends. I've noticed not only my creativity starting to get smaller but I just don't know what to say or talk about to anyone. I'm not up to date with anything. So I pulled to social network to try to connect with friends in the field. However that has too been a complete flop. Most people ignore me or are to busy to talk. It is very frustrating and even depressing. To the point I don't even get on that much anymore. So i would be addicted to social network if I had friends on there that would talk back :( Oh well maybe sometime in the next year I'll catch a break and get a job, or a group of friends to keep me up to date because I believe we all need some form of social interaction other wise we turn into prunes who are afraid of sunlight and forget how to speak. Turn into real early age cave people.

Anonymous said...

I definitely believe you have to have some socialization to help stimulate the creative juices. Now, I'm not saying I'm a social butterfly or anything because Lord knows, I'm overdue for a girl's night out. Whether it's at work or at the grocery store chit-chatting with the cashier, that's some form of human contact.

One of my favorite singers took an eight-year hiatus from the music industry because he said that he needed to get out there and live free of the industry pressure just to get his juices flowing again.


I agree with you. We need other people to inspire, motivate, and encourage us.
Sure, I can get busy writing and not see anyone for a few days. Usually that's when I'm happiest. Then I have to end the sabbatical and get out and about. Meet writer friends for coffee. Have one over for tea and crumpets (otherwise known as sugar cookies!).
We seem to all have the same habits.
Blessing on your WIP!!!
My novel Vada Faith is FINALLY on amazon.

Unknown said...

I can only rarely write without having someone chatting with me. I used to have a writing group and people to chat with about writing but I lost most of that contact now or the people in question have stopped talking about writing with me. Which of course has meant that since then, my writing is pretty non-existent apart from during NaNo (november writing challenge) when I can join the nano chats and the forums there.

I certainly don't think writing is a solitary pursuit.