This post made the Publishing Daily TwitterZine. Lots of great articles, be sure to check it out!
A to Z Disclaimer:
Like all craftspeople, writers need to keep a bag of tricks handy. A set of tools for the job at hand (writing), if you will. Some of these traits or tools are obvious--like the need to have a hide as thick as a brick, for instance. Some are not. This month, I've been challenged to do a post every day of the week (excluding Sunday) that begins with a letter of the alphabet. I'm going to use this challenge to examine some of those necessary writing tools, both conventional and not. Hold on to your #2 pencil, here we go!
NOTE: I've added a page dedicated to my A to Z Writer's Toolbox posts. I figured I'd soon have a bunch of these things and it'll make it easier for you to browse any of the letters you might have missed. You can find a link to the page under the, "MORE STUFF" heading at the top of the right-hand column of this page.
C is for camaraderie
Writing is a solitary business. It is a process of cajoling, teasing and forcing things that--taken individually--are nothing but shapeless vapors wafting in our minds, and forming them into a cohesive substance that can be handled by all. If a medium is a material with which an artist works to make her creations, then I might argue that writing is the only form of art with no true medium.
A painter cannot color with language. A sculptor cannot chisel memories. A composer cannot sound notes with mental images. Yet, given enough time and study, a writer can use those things to construct entire worlds. Not surprisingly, this process doesn't lend itself to teamwork.
Isaac Asimov once said, "Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his type writer or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter."
So why am I suggesting that you can't do it alone?
Camaraderie, as defined by Webster's, is a spirit of friendly good-fellowship. Only a dog knows the joys of chasing one's own tail, and the sadness of seeing an owner walk out the door alone. Similarly, only another writer will understand how a single story can devour 4 years of your life, or how soul-destroying a simple 'no thanks' can be when it comes from THE agent.
Like a tornado needs a trailer park, we need each other, if for no other reason than to provide some form of focus to a seemingly chaotic act. Writer friends will be there to commiserate your disappointments, to celebrate your accomplishments, to cheer your progress and jeer when your writing sags. All the while, they'll be pushing you to dig deeper and to express more by saying less.
If you don't have any writer friends, make some. (I'd recommend Meetup.com or any of the popular writing community websites. Heck, you could even start a writing blog! :-) No tool will be more valuable to your writing abilities, or your sanity.