I have a friend who got into a special program at a major company right after college. She, along with ten others, had the exact same job description, and the exact same salary. They were all the exact same age, and lived in the same company-owned housing area. They even had the same company cars. In many ways, they were clones, trained to perform the exact same role with little variability,
I bring this up because… the writing world is NOTHING like this.
Some writers work full-time at a day job, and have extra cash, but no extra time. Some write full-time, but budget carefully.
Some are parents. Some live with their parents.
Some are older, some are younger.
Some have sold ten books. Some haven’t finished their first.
Some are city-folk. Some are small-town people.
All of us are writers. We all dream wonderful dreams and spin incredible stories. We have more in common than we do differences, if we dig down deep enough.
This beautifully multi-faceted community is part of what makes our literature so unique and interesting. If we were all clones, we’d all write the same books, over and over again. Instead, we each write from our own personal truths, sharing and growing along the way.
However, sometimes, in the stew of peoples making up the writing community, it can feel like you’re the only one who’s different. The only carrot among potatoes. Maybe you’re the youngest one in your writing group, or the only one without a significant other. Maybe you had a kid and you’re suddenly in a different time in your life than you’ve been, and it seems like every other writer has plenty of freedom. Maybe you feel lonely, because you live hundreds of miles from any other writer.
Maybe it just seems like there’s a “popular club” and you’re not part of it. It’s not true. You belong here. You’re as much a writer, as much part of the community as anyone else.
Social media can be cruel. We all share the best parts of our lives, buffing and photo-shopping away countless imperfections. We humble-brag and white-lie our way to perceived happiness, all the while battling self-doubt and insecurity.
The independent writer might secretly be as lonely as the remote one.
The writer with an adorable-on-paper significant other might be contemplating a divorce.
We compare our worst days to other’s bests, and we beat ourselves up because of it. We judge and critique others who are not like ourselves, instead of seeing each person as a main character in their own story.
Let’s stop. Let’s be kind to each other. When you feel excluded or alone, please know, you are never alone. Someone out there cares about you, even if you’ve never met them. Together, let’s write a new story. Of belonging and acceptance, of building each other up and respecting our differences.
Let’s bond over what we have in common. Our story-telling talents.
I’m going to try harder to do this in the new year, and I invite you all to do the same.