Hello, everyone! And how are you today? Had a good breakfast? Got the kids to school? Humoured your boss or already been down the gym to stretch and tone? Come on then, let’s get on with the writing day. Let’s celebrate each other’s literary successes, let’s mentally hold each other’s tired typing hand. Because that’s what we do, here on the net – regardless of our identity away from the screen, regardless of whether we stutter or dress weird or laugh like a donkey on dope. We stand firm, side by side. We’re in this game together, arms open wide.
Heh, heh! It’s a fickle community, I find on the web. Best buddies come and go – some stay in touch, even meet up with us, in the flesh. But others fall by the wayside because we’ve moved on and they haven’t or because they’ve found success first.
During my years mingling in on-line writing communities, I’ve found there are various types of virtual friends:
1) Those you email every day – every few hours! – to pour out your woes which are usually submission/writers’ block related, but occasionally to do with the real world. Messages are signed off with kisses and there are usually LOLs. They keep us going through the ups and downs. Until one day, the affair fizzles out - normally because one of us has got a deal and the other, er, hasn’t. That’s when we both find a new buddy who’ll really understand. It’s ta ta for now. Thanks for everything. If we remember, we'll buy each other's books when they come out.
2) Those that are useful to know – for their knowledge, for their clinical kiss-free advice and contacts. We are both networkers and keep each other posted with our submission progress, whilst knowing this is partly to pick up any tips or agent news. Emails are less frequent and strictly to do with writing. There are no smiley faces, but we pass on the occasional link to a new agent’s website - once we’ve submitted our own work, of course.
3) Similar to number 2, but those we see as mentors. We are in awe and feel genuine warmth for their help. We don’t like to pester but know we can rely on them for carefully worded advice and timely pick-me-ups. We wonder what they get in return and hope, one day, we’ll be in a position to know, if someone comes to us for help.
4) Banter buddies – they are some of the best! If we must, we’ll talk seriously about the craft, but most of our time is spent in forums, giggling over our latest purple sex scene or recommending a new chocolate bar. Lots of smiley faces and kisses, lots of laughs. And lots of virtual cakes and wine if any agent dares turn us down!
5) Genuine friends, whom, if we’re lucky, we get to meet in real life, who ‘get’ our real personality, who like us regardless of whether we are a writer or not. I’ve met up with authors before and wish circumstances – and location – allowed me to more often. Not that I’m advocating meeting up with any old bod. Never do it alone - or at night time. Treat it like a blind date!
So there you have it – do you recognize yourself? What kind of friends have you made from writers’ forums? I hope some of them are on this blog:)