I remember back about a year ago, when I first realized I might want to publish all those novel-length things I was writing. First I went to the library to see what I could learn about publishing there. That's where they keep the books, after all. I figured I'd find a ton of stuff about getting published. Most of what was there was sadly out of date, so I turned to the trusty internet in search of information. I searched every publishing topic from A to Z, and was slightly (okay, more than slightly) overwhelmed by it all.
One of the first and most frequent bits of information I read was you should edit and edit and revise and edit. The most recommended strategy for success was to have your writer friends review your work. You know, all your writer friends you have when you're first starting to write.
Yes. I hadn't even told my sister I was writing at that point, let alone tried to make friends with other people like me. People in caves huddled over their laptop, churning out word soup. Riiiiight.
I had been on Twitter for a while, but it was more a way for me to follow other people, rather than actually communicate with anyone else. I think I followed about 30 people, most of whom were celebrity-types, and I had a grand total of six followers, including my sister's dog. (Her dog is @Jezebelthedog, in case you were wondering. She doesn't tweet much. Maybe because she's a dog?)
So I trudged along, trying to edit my own work, doing the best I could. I felt so deprived because I didn't have any writer friends. And then I heard about a few writing contests. I heard about The Authoress, I heard about the Query Shark, Janet Reid. And then Cupid. Things kind of snowballed from there.
I made it into a few contests, and made friends with people I met in the comments sections. There was manuscript trading, and then learning how to critique and edit someone else's work. It was my entry into an amazing community of writers.
I didn't think a thing about this journey until I saw a series of tweets today about how much the twitter community of writers means to all of us who are a part of it. And how difficult it would be to get up every day and sit down to write without knowing all those other folks are out there right now doing the same thing. And without being able to pop over to twitter for a chat or a laugh when we get stuck or frustrated. It's the absolute truth. Writing might be a solitary activity, but being part of a group makes it that much easier and more fun.
Everything is better when you have folks who understand what you're going through to celebrate and commiserate with. So go forth and write, and celebrate the internet, because without it, we'd all be alone at our writing desks.