I am THRILLED with the turnout of support for me and for Red in the DABWAHA Tourney. Remember, if you want to sign up for the special DABWAHA newsletter, you can do that up in the menu bar or right here. Y’all are friggin AWESOME.
And it is the very awesomeness of my online community and all the friends that I talk to on a daily basis that wholly enrich my life that is such an enormous contrast with the people I know IRL. I’ve had a recent realization that I have almost no really good friends locally. They are mostly convenience friends (in the way that in research a convenience sample is just kinda there and easy for the researcher to access) whom I know through work or through their spouse who’s friends with my spouse or whatever. I have exactly nothing in common with…well, any of them. They aren’t interested (or don’t know about) my writing. They don’t read the same stuff I do. And they’re not as obsessed with food as I am, so those discussions can’t really go very far. And, trust me, nobody wants to hear about the specifics of my job or my bitching about it (and I can’t blame them–it’s no fun listening to somebody bitch all the time). Which leaves me…yeah, not much to talk about. So I wind up leaving functions with these folks feeling like a wobbly third wheel that nobody really wants there. Which may or may not be true, but it always makes me thrilled to run back to all of YOU who actually GET ME.
It’s so much EASIER to make friends online. It’s so much simpler to actually find folks with common interests. Other writers. People who like the same books as me. And I’m big time hooked into the foodie community. Just this morning I had a lovely bonding conversation with a YA fantasy writer over the awesome that is bacon.
I don’t actually think about all of this very often. Let’s face it, I don’t have a lot of free time, which is one of the major reasons WHY I don’t have any good friends here. I don’t have much of a life outside work, so I don’t have opportunities to just randomly meet new people. But something happened recently to get me thinking about it, and I admit last night I had a bit of a pity party over it. Then I finished with the pity party (I don’t have the patience to have one for more than about an hour) and started being proactive.
I’ve tried to find other writers in the area before. I made a big post about it in 2009 to which I think I had almost no response. So last night I went diving in the regional forums from last year’s NaNo. I didn’t actually participate in NaNo, but I remembered seeing that there actually was, for once, some local activity going on. So I sent NaNo messages to the 5 people I found in the area just to say hi. Given that NaNo is over, I have no idea if I’ll hear back from any of them, but at least it was something ACTIVE. I’m not just waiting around for somebody to fall in my lap. I also followed up with a fan from the next town over who had found me on FB. We both went to the same university for undergrad and like the same kind of books. And now we have a coffee date after Spring Break. So that was a big yay and really helped turn my blah mood around last night.
I write about all of this not because I’m looking for an outpouring of sympathy but because I’m betting this is a problem of a LOT of writers. We are often really insular kinds of people. And if we live in small towns where there’s NOT going to be a thriving writers’ community or writers’ groups or critique groups or WHATEVER that might exist in big cities, then we are often kind of stuck as to how to find somebody out there who GETS us. So I guess I want to say a) you’re not alone and you should totally embrace and value your online community and b) you have to be proactive in trying to find folks in your real life community.
Next on deck–seeing if I can find people on Goodreads by LOCATION…