At this time of year, it’s not unusual to spend some time thinking about — and being grateful for — friends and family. I have a warm, loving family and I’m fortunate to have friends who inspire, amaze and support me. But today, I’m thinking in particular about my writing community.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. It kind of has to be, doesn’t it? You, the writer, sit down at a keyboard and type. The ideas come from your head (or from the pages and pages of notes and research you’ve done on your topic!). That’s the classic picture of the writer: sitting alone in a room, writing.
But wait, there’s more: for those of us lucky enough, there’s the writing community.
As I progressed along the path to being a published author, I got to know other writers and other artists. I’ve written before about my involvement in groups like the Sisters in Crime, my attendance at writing conferences, and of course there’s the wonderful community here at Ladies of Mystery.
I cannot emphasize enough the value I find in spending time with, getting to know, learning to rely on other writers. I look forward to every post here on Ladies of Mystery, to see what questions and challenges my fellow mystery writers are dealing with and how they respond to them.
Thanks to my involvement in the Guppy chapter of the Sisters in Crime, I have a team of people ready to respond to frantic questions ranging from details of cyanide poisoning to the appropriate position of a challenging comma to the best way to describe a character’s face (always one of my biggest challenges).
My writerly life was forever improved when I decided an hour was not too far away to drive to meetings of the Delaware Valley chapter of the Sisters in Crime. Through this inspiring group of writers (men and women, of course), I’ve been introduced to new ways of thinking about mysteries, characters that seem to be standing in front of me, and questions from readers that simply wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise.
I’ve been so fortunate to be included in an anthology of mysteries written by some of the best mystery writers I’ve read — check out the Sisters of Suspense anthology for some great mysteries!
I’ve benefitted from my participation in public celebrations and book readings. Each event gives me another opportunity to figure out how to talk about my books, how to talk about myself, and how to build my relationship with my readers.
So today, I’m feeling warm and fuzzy thoughts about my writing community, and I wish everyone in it — and those who may one day join it — a warm, wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year.