The writing life, they say, is a solitary adventure. You get up, hopefully you get some exercise and the obligatory cup of coffee. And then you write. Or revise, edit, illustrate, market or whatever else you need to do to keep your career afloat.
All of these tend to be fairly solitary pursuits. But the fact is, there is a whole community of writers – both indie and trad. pub. – out there. We help each other with newsletter swaps, cross-promotions, and conferences where we learn from each other about the industry we love. By participating in such things, we do much more than sell books. We create community.
I had the opportunity this past weekend to volunteer my services at the 16th Annual FWA Writers Conference in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
FWA is associated with the Florida Writers Foundation, which promotes literacy in Florida, especially youth literacy. I was privileged to work in the Silent Auction with Susan, Bria, and Carol. Together we spent the weekend raising money for a worthwhile cause. I arranged displays, marked bid sheets, accepted evaluations, gave out or sold raffle tickets, answered questions and in general worked the entire weekend.
But I wasn’t constantly engaged with the Auction. I also attended workshops on writing and marketing, talked with other authors, met with other writer’s group leaders and enjoyed a Mai Tai or two.
In the process, I learned more about my craft, more about marketing and cross-promotion and the companies that are out there whose job it is to help authors sell books.
It was a wonderful experience.
The best part was the verification of the knowledge that I am not alone. I am part of a community. One that supports and promotes the careers of authors at every level and side of the writing life, both indie and traditionally published, from novices just starting out to seasoned veterans with multiple books under their belt.
In a profession where the majority of your time is spent, “butt in chair” as they say, (which usually means alone, even if your writing space is the local StarBucks,) the conference reinforced the knowledge that I am not alone in this adventure. There are other authors who are doing the work, and I can help them, even as they do their best to help me.
Oh, and I got to hang out with superheroes. Some of them were even in uniform.
What is your favorite way to give back to your professional community? Answer in the comments below. I love hearing from you.