Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting Down To Business: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Today columnist Donna Alward is back with Getting Down to Business - and a little about the social part of this industry and why it's so important...

Writing is a solitary occupation. As writers, we sit in our home offices, or at a coffee shop, or wherever the muse takes us, and we create fantastic worlds populated with wonderful characters. We're never truly alone. But we do often insulate ourselves and the fact that many of us don't venture into the office for work and don't get a lot of social contact can be problematic.

Thank God for the internet.

The one thing that seems to connect us all is our online presence. For example, the writers I'm closest to are mostly on one of my writer loops. We're like family. We keep confidences, feel free to let it all hang out when we're struggling, and love each other. We really do. Of the people on that list, I've probably only met 1/3 of them in person. But we've known each other for years. I am not exaggerating when I say that the women on that loop have saved my bacon more times than I can count.

Then there's facebook and twitter...I know a lot of social media can turn out to be a time suck, but I often wonder what authors did years ago before e-mail and online communities. They probably had a much better balanced life, actually, but I'm wondering if they shared the same camaraderie on a daily basis that I can enjoy with my fellow romance writers.

With Fi and Jenna at the Samhain post-RITA party
Today as you're reading this, I'm flying to Boston for the New England Chapter's Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference. I'm excited to be going, to sit in on some workshops, sign some books, and to present my own workshop called "Keep Calm and Carry On: Keeping Your Sanity in an Ever-Changing Industry". I'm equally looking forward to seeing my good friend Barb Wallace at the airport. We're spending some friend time together before heading to the hotel. She's also my roommate for the two nights I'm there. I can honestly say that Barb has talked me off the ledge more times than I can count this past winter. Want to know how to keep your sanity in this industry? Surround yourself with people who let you know that you're not alone. If it weren't for Barb, Fiona Harper, and Jenna Burke...well, let's just say that I owe them BIG TIME. (I was trying to find a pic of me with Barb, and couldn't - we'll have to remedy that this weekend!)

I'm also looking forward to meeting new writers, catching up with ones I haven't seen in a long time, and sharing a drink at the bar. I'm not going to RWA Nationals this year, but I can honestly say that any time we all get together in the same city, it's not just information that we share. There's a bond between us that keeps us going. That makes us hopeful about the things to come in publishing. That let us know that it's going to be okay.

I ALWAYS return from conferences and even my chapter meetings energized about my career and usually about my current story, too.

Don't underestimate the importance of your friends as you navigate your way through writing for publication. Those relationships are important and rewarding.

Thank you, friends. I appreciate you more than you know.

Donna's next book, BENEATH THE BADGE, scored a 4.5 star rating from Romantic Times. The reviewer called it "a beautiful romance that will remind readers a little of early JoAnn Ross or very early Nora Roberts."  It releases on May 28th from Samhain Publishing.


  1. Hey you! Yes, friends keep you going through the bad times. And I wish I could see you in person again soon!!
    Love Biddy

  2. From MarcieR

    And I'm sure they appreciate you just as much!

    I know I appreciate your blogs here and your comments over at eHarl.