Keeping Connected in a Literary World

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I was never the type of college student that changed my major a thousand times, trying to find myself. I knew what I wanted. I knew I was a writer, and that there was no other track of education I would enjoy more than literature and writing. Regardless of the multiple voices telling me that I would never find a job in the real world with a degree in English, I did it anyway. Why? Because my parent’s always told me, “Find what you love doing, and make money doing it”. With that piece of advice, I figured there was bound to be something I could do in the field I desired.

Pursuing the English degree was everything I wanted. I was fully immersed in the literary world, reading works inside the cannon and reading my own work at a literary conference across the country. It prepared me to speak and give feedback to other professionals and writers. It taught me the importance of editing and drafting, and that pieces are made in the editing. My English degree never faltered me from getting a job in the real world either. In interviews, I could prove to employers that as an English major, I could read and write well. I could read information and interpret it back into different contexts, something that every employer looks for. I could effectively communicate.

The downfall to the English degree, or college in general, is that it left little time for me to do any of my own writing. As a novelist, this put a big tree trunk right in the middle of my road. I had no energy to produce my own projects, because I was busy meeting deadlines for classes. Oftentimes I found myself wanting to quit. Because with the amount of money I was spending on credit hours, I could have used it to travel the world for experience. Or I could use the time to write what I actually wanted to write. But I never gave up, because I knew that I needed the credibility moving forward.

I was afraid that after I graduated, I would be out of the literary loop. I was afraid I would lose contact with others pursuing the craft, and with what was going on in the community. But I couldn’t be more wrong.

The summer after I graduated, got married, and traveled across the ocean and back, I decided that I wasn’t going to allow myself to get too far away from the literary world. I attended a conference at the University of Missouri in Kansas City called, “New Letters- Writing for Love, Money, and Immortality”. That conference changed my life. It kick started my writing career as an adult, showed me that I didn’t have to be a hermit and could still stay involved in the literary world, and was also the conference where the Wordwraith’s were born. At this particular writing conference, I met Sarah and JR Frontera. As strangers, this is where the idea for our writing group surfaced.

Writing can be such a solitary craft. Of course we will always share in the worlds we create, and the characters that grow along with us through each novel’s journey. But we don’t have to be that wine drinking, black turtleneck wearing, hiding from the world until our work is complete, type of artists (okay, minus the wine drinking. Wine is always welcome).

An entire ocean of writer’s are out there, and they are going through the same thing you are. And we are all in it together. Reach out. Make connections. Join a writing group. Get together with other writers and just write. Go to writing conferences in your region, or travel to get to one. Join an online community. Try NaNoWriMo. Join a book club. Attend events at your local library.  

Even if you are a writer that is more productive by yourself and enjoys writing alone, you are still going to need readers on your side. You don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to be out of the literary loop.

My point is, writing doesn’t have to be so solitary. There is a whole community out there; opening up to it and making allies, can produce a world of possibilities for a writer.

And in this life, we need all the allies we can get.

❤ Kristin and The Wordwraiths

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