By Sarah Post, Co-Founder, I AM in print.
Writing can be a lonely business. Hours upon hours spent in front of the keyboard tapping out words, rearranging and deleting them. Hours living in your own head, visualizing characters and replaying scenes.
So why do we do it?
Is it to live precariously through our characters? Invent lives we wish we could live? Is it a form of escapism or just a cathartic process that lets us empty our heads as some sort of therapy?
Whatever your reason – It takes a special person with discipline and determination to get to the finish line and often when we write ‘The End’ it’s only the start of the process. You then need to find an agent, a publisher and even when the book is in print, you still need help getting it into the shops.
So, can we do it alone?
Possibly, but with someone behind you, someone that believes in you, the journey can be that more rewarding. Take joining an exercise class, for example; it is always easier to go with someone, someone you can motivate and someone that can motivate you. Be it jogging, aerobics or swimming somehow, it’s easier and more fun with two.
But how do you find that special someone to give you a helping hand? Someone you can bounce your ideas off? Someone you can brainstorm with to stimulate and inspire you to constantly improve? Someone that will simply listen, offer a kind ear and give you a hug in times of need? Hopefully you all have someone like that at home, but if not, the following tips may help.
1. Find a friend
If you have a friend or a colleague that has always wanted to write a book then set yourselves a joint goal. Set up a shared folder and make a deal to send each other a new chapter of your book at timed intervals. Give yourselves incentives or forfeits to make sure you stick to them.
2. Join Twitter
Many writers are insecure about their writing so the thought of going on social media can be scary. But platforms like Twitter can be an excellent place to search for like-minded people. Set up a profile and follow people using the search terms #amwriting, #amquerying, #writers, #writerslife, #writingchallenge to build up your own community.
3. Find your local writing circle
Stepping into a room full of people you perceive to be better at writing than you can be daunting, but writing circles can be an excellent source of inspiration and a way to meet people working towards the same goal as you.
4. Attend a literary festival
Many towns now host an annual literary event. Reserve yourself a space to hear authors talk about their writing journey to learn as much about the process as possible. Most have author book signings at the end so ask a question you have always wanted to know. Remember they were like you once.
5. Join a writing program
There are many writing programs out there like The Golden Egg Academy or #writementor who offer various mentorship schemes (some for a fee) to help steer you in the right direction.
6. Attend a writing course
Find a writing course about your particular genre and not only will you learn a great deal, but you never know who you might sit next to.
7. Join in our live webinars
At I AM in print we host live webinars with authors, literary agents and publishing professionals in the hope that we can build an online community to share information and advice from people in the know. During our live events you are able to ask the questions you might find difficult to find the answers to and we hope you can feel part of the event from wherever you live in the world.
There is a reason most books are dedicated to someone and the acknowledgements are often more than a page long. Whether it’s a person who will proofread the next chapter, help with research or a beta reader to say what works and what doesn’t, finding that special writing buddy or tribe can make all the difference. You might be able to do it alone, but it’s definitely more fun with two.