What I’ve Learned from other writers- It’s a Tough Business- Get a Support Group

When I was a child, I had a lot of dreams and to be honest with you, being an author wasn’t one of them. For me, an author was Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and others from a century before, as well as the Harlequin authors I sneaked to read, Anne Stuart, for one. I loved making up stories and listening to others tell them, as well as jotting them down, but to dream of being an author seemed out of the reach of a little girl growing up in the mountains.
I first thought of writing when I was in law school and reading tomes of case law. I think I started my first book as a way of escaping that. While I didn’t shine in law school, my writing improved until I joined a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. There I found like- minded people and began to learn the craft of writing. Over the years, I learned about pitching to editors and agents, the mechanics of writing synopses, point of view and other essentials for good writing. And I found a support group that is with me to this day.
Having a support group is more important than I can say, but I’ll try to explain. When I’d been in the group for about a year, I became frustrated with the whole process and self doubt hit me full force. I planned to quit the group and focus instead on my “real” job and forget about writing (unrealistic as it was, as I’ve written in some form since I was very young). A woman who I’d met a few times in the group called me and asked about my health then inquired why I’d missed the last few meetings. After talking for a few minutes, I remembered why I wanted to be a writer and continued on with the meetings, becoming more involved in the chapter and remain active in my writing group to this day. And still, there are times I wonder, why am I putting myself through this, writing and submitting, finding time when there isn’t any extra to go to another world and craft a story. And each of those times, my writing friends have pulled me off the ledge and gotten me back to the story.
I’ve also had writing glitches in the business sense. With each hurdle that I’ve encountered, I’ve had support from writers with more experience than I to counsel me, those with less experience to encourage me and those with equal experience to commiserate with.
Readers are also a great source of support. When I get a compliment about my stories or even a criticism, I remember the reasons I write, to leave behind something for others to read and to empty my head of all the stories. Readers are, after all, the final consumers of our product. There’s a quote that has been around for years, “A writer starts a book, the reader finishes it.”
I’ve published and continue to write, my view a bit more focused than when I started. I hope to continue to write throughout my life, publish, and leave behind books that entertain. During the years ahead, I’ve no doubt I’ll have my writing friends, both old and new, to support me and whom I hope I’ll support.
If you are a writer, do you have a group of people that you can turn to when in the dumps or to celebrate? If not, by all means, find a support group, whether it’s online or in person. If your’e a reader please consider letting your favorite authors know if you like the books you’ve read.

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