A Tribe of One's Own
There are lots of ways to learn to write. Classes, workshops, MFA programs, etc. teach story structure, how to show, not tell, and such. However, there are no courses on how to be a writer. No class teaches us how to get past the inevitable imposter syndrome, how to endure the anxious weeks and months while our books are out on submission, or help with ideas and support during promotion tours. This is where community comes in. In the publishing world, that community is most often referred to as “finding our tribe.” No one understands the inner workings of a writer’s mind like other writers. I expected that sense of camaraderie when I started attending writers’ conferences and joined my local chapters of Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America. What I didn’t expect was the generosity and openness of those who make their living as a writer. Every author I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and talk with, including best-sellers and my own fellow Miss Demeanors, takes their tribe seriously. To a person, they’ve been quick to offer guidance and mentorship, share stories of their own dark and stormy days along with their bright and sunny ones, laugh together. I heard a phrase the other day that resonated with me – as we rise, we lift. That’s what a tribe does. We support one another, lifting up those who are just finding their path, even if only by being a cheerleader or shoulder to cry on. It’s never too early or too late to find your tribe. None of us have to go on this journey alone. And that’s what it is, a journey. Yes, when I write I’m often in my office by myself. But my tribe and I help each other enjoy the ride of being writers.