Finding Writers In Real Life

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…

Stay tuned.

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13 comments

  1. Love watching my twitter feed and reading bits from writers- my daily fix. Of course I’ve never met any of them in person. I too do not have any writer friends in my town. My hubby and I often enjoy conversations comparing a writer to the life a musician (his profession)- that’s about as close as I get- lots of great comparison actually.
    I get you and enjoy you too, rants and all 🙂 oh and bring on the bacon, yum
    Congrats again on DABWAHA, I’ll be voting for Red for sure!!

  2. I’m really lucky to have two very good friends IRL. (I had three, but you know that story.) And the guys that I work with are great. But one of my two best friends really doesn’t seem to be interested in my writing. She’s mostly interested in herself, I think. Luckily, Anya, my cover artist is my other best friend IRL. We can actually enjoy being together and talking shop. We talk about other things, too, of course, but she gets me. And that’s the bottom line, I think, of what you’re saying. It’s mostly the writing community that gets us.

    You know, you and Susan are really IRL to me now since we’ve met up several times. I think it’s ok to count both of you as IRL friends, so I guess I have four. 🙂 It’s great, though, to have this community of writers to talk to when your real life friends just aren’t getting it.

    My town is pretty small, but you’re right, I need to see if I can find other writers. I’m pretty sure I can find them in the next town over, which is larger.

    1. Oh I have loads of IRL friends from various points in my life. It’s just that none of them live anywhere near me. Kansas. Tennessee. Britain. Texas. New York. California. Detroit….

  3. My Closest Friends IRL are My Mom, My Mom’s Boyfriend and My Brother, lol… Who were basically the three people I grew up with… Which is cool, but in reality, I miss having friends that aren’t basically related to me, lol

    Over the years Good Friends have come and gone… And often My Best Friends are the people I get involved with Romantically, so when that ends, so does the Friendship… So it’s pretty much a “Double Whammy” whenever a Romantic Relationship ends.

    I’ve been Blogging for 6 Months now, and I have found a Lovely Community within WordPress.com, which has been Awesome… So at least I’m around people that like you say “Get Me” to a Degree… It’s good to be around so many other Writers, as well as Photographers and Bloggers…

    But in reality, I still wish I had a Good Friend or Three, hopefully I will again someday.

    Nice Post

    DarkJade-

  4. Welllll…. I hear what you’re saying… Buuuuttt… maybe in April or November you could sign up for a Script Writing Frenzy or NaNoWriMo and meet writers in your area that way? That’s what I did last November.. i don’t see them really outside of Facebook, but a lot of them still meet up and I am always invited.

    Just a thought…
    BTDubs… I have no “real-life friends” unless you count my sister and my AA sponsor.. 😉

    1. I don’t write scripts and I WAS signed up for NaNo, though I never have time to participate (November is possibly the WORST month for me). That’s how I found the people I contacted. I’ve done the same for the last five years and this was the first year there actually WAS someone in the area.

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