Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending the national RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference. I found it inspirational and educational, and learned so much. During one of the luncheons, I sat next to a fellow author and we began to chat it up. She said something to the effect of how supportive other romance writers are of one another. I listened eagerly, as I discovered she was quite right, and I’d noticed the same.
“We have to be,” she said in explanation. “Our readers are voracious. We can’t possibly write as fast as they can read. So what do they do while they wait for our new release? Read our contemporaries, of course. It’s essential we support one another, because we need each other.”
This was all new to me, but I quite agree with her and as a romance writer, I wholeheartedly embraced this philosophy.
Although technically we are competitors, I like to think of it more like running a race together. I am a runner, and occasionally I participate in a race with friends. Though we are all hoping to finish first, that space is only reserved for one person and, I’ve gotta tell you, speed is not my thing. So what do we do instead? We run beside each other, encouraging and motivating one another as we run. In the past race I participated in, I knew people ahead of me that finished sooner, and happily cheered them on as they lapped me (true story, haha), then when I crossed the finish line, cheered friends who finished after. We were all happy for one another, some of us achieving personal best records, but mostly all in the race together.
We’re all in the race together.
Writing takes time. I’ve often thought that writing a book is like cooking a Thanksgiving feast. You plan, and buy, and cook, and bake, and spend hours upon hours upon hours preparing a meal that people you love will come and inhale in minutes. You write, and you write, and you write, and you plan, and you edit, and you edit some more, and you go through the whole publication process, and then someone reads your book cover to cover before you’ve brushed your teeth for bed. Even if I were a full-time writer and wrote like the wind, words magically appearing on the page as the muse flies, it could still take weeks to write a whole novel, and even longer to prepare it for publication. That’s just the way it goes. And lengthier novels and series take even longer.
So even the most prolific of writers cannot possibly satisfy the reading needs of hungry readers.
What to do, then? We point them to our friends, contemporaries, peers.
Writing is, in many ways, an independent endeavor. Though we work with a team of people – beta readers, editors, publishers, and more – the actual writing is usually done alone. Even when I co-write with my friend Maisy Archer, and we alternate chapters and points of view in our works, we still do the actual writing alone. This is how the work gets done. And because of this, I think many of us feel initially hesitant to get to know others in the writing community. I know I still struggle with feeling self conscious, or unworthy. But after we’ve rolled up our sleeves, let the muse fly and crafted a novel, the truth is, there is more to writing than the actual word-to-page. These days, we need to promote our work, and what better way to get to know one another than promoting another’s work?
I am very new to the D/s writing community and have to say, I’ve been amazed at how supportive everyone is. Countless people have given me advice, encouraged me, commiserated, supported, and helped me feel not so alone in this. I am so grateful. I promise I will do my very best to pay it forward.