Monday, September 12, 2016

Be Vulnerable, Get Connected

A terrible thing happened to me last week. I was browsing Twitter, and my feed was filling with YA writers doing a million and one tweets about all the new books coming out, or already out, in their category or genre. That's not a big deal, right? I read everything, so what IS the big deal?

The big deal is I'm getting closer and closer to being query ready, and when I query, I don't want to just SAY I write women's fiction. (Which ISN'T ALL I write, but my ideas are definitely so far...all WF.) And I realized how little I'm connected to my own category.

I was nearly in tears that night. Scratch that. I WAS in tears. Frustrated ones. I talked it out with a friend, even saying how I should quit because I've scoured the internet, finding nearly nothing. I was a wreck. She told me to be like Nicholas Sparks, who was a friend of her ex, and write to write, not to be categorized.

I said some deep prayers that night, and by morning I yelled SCREW IT! I need to fight the fight. I need to get my ARSE in gear. And so, I became vulnerable, sending 3 Facebook writing groups a plea to speak to WF writers, breaking down how I have no WF connections, and I need them. Bad.

Immediate doors opened to my prayers. Because I let my pride down, and became vulnerable, I got connected! It was the best feeling ever. I said to one of the girls that reached out, how I felt like I was on an island plane wrecked with a bunch of writers, and everyone had found their writing family, but me. But now? I've found them!

And not only that, but another contacted me about a LDS writers association, and how they even have chapter meetings (only 30mins from me), and retreats. The next Writer's Retreat is at the end of October, 10mins from my house. This is surreal!

So, yes, now my little ABOUT ME to the left has changed. I'm finally in a writer's association. TWO of them, in fact. I've even tagged along to the Tall Poppy Writers that promotes WF authors/books just like the Swanky17 for YA you see on social media. And I'm super excited to help them promo WF authors every Friday on Twitter when I tweet two books for my #weekendreads suggestions.

Moral of the story: Be Vulnerable, Get Connected. 

Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (I said I wouldn't read till edits were done, but that surely didn't last!)
Read: At least I haven't read anything else. I'm taking my time enjoying An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa is...awesome with her words.
Good Things: Amazon books sales (found 3 books for under $2 for a limited time only, score!)
What I have to stop myself from: going to bookstores and thrifts to browse books (I have too many already!)
What I want to buy more of: bookcases (I'd love to have my own library room or wall)
Next project: Being super nice to hubs (so he can build me the library wall!!!)
What my friend said that made me cringe: I invited her to walk with me to the library and she asked why. (oh, Lord have mercy...)

Questions to the Reader:
1. Is it hard for you to ask for help?
2. Is it because you don't want others to know you don't know when you should know?
3. Are you just as okay with not knowing as now I am?


Pat Hatt said...

Write to write is good advice indeed, I don't stick to one genre or thing, just go with it. Asking for help isn't a bad trait either, have to put yourself out there and doors shall open.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tammy - that all makes perfect sense ... and hopefully you're back on an even keel and just getting on writing, or drafting your next story ... good luck with everything: everything teaches us something - cheers Hilary

JoJo said...

To paraphrase Dory, 'just keep writing!' Good luck with your new group!!!!!!

Christine Rains said...

Excellent advice! That is awesome you found a new group. When I took a chance and joined a local critique group, I was terrified but I've learned so much from them over the past five years. It sometimes is hard for me to ask for help, not because I don't want others to know I don't know something, but because I have this ridiculous idea that I need to do everything myself. I am my own worst boss in that way. As I've gotten older, I've gotten better at asking for help. :)

The Silver Fox said...

Glad to see you made it through to a solution!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

See? Just ask for help and you'll get it. That's the cool part about this writing community.

Annalisa Crawford said...

How great that all that stuff is on your doorstep!

Andrew Leon said...

I've never thought being in groups was a big deal.
Maybe I'm wrong?

Natalie Aguirre said...

So awesome you're connecting with writer's groups. We have a fantastic local SCBWI group.

M said...

1. I have difficulty asking for help, mostly because I'm largely independent and self-sufficient.
2. The "should know" thing is interesting. I was in a special program for gifted children pretty much from the time I started school, so yes, I think a large portion of my identity is based on this idea that I'm smart and I know things.
3. Over the years I've learned that it's okay to say "I don't know." That's a hard lesson. We all think of not knowing as a failure. There's blame associated with it for some reason. We forget that everyone has to learn--there's a difference between things you should know ("you know better than that!") and things you honestly don't know because it's simply not something you've learned [yet]. The thing is, in order to learn, you first have to be able to recognize and admit what you don't know.

Elephant's Child said...

Asking for help is hugely difficult for me. Afraid that if people realise how helpless/hopeless I am, they will run away? Something to ponder.
I swear books breed. Which part of me loves, and the groaning/stacked at least two deep bookshelves would argue.
I am so glad that you have found support.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Being open definitely helps and I'm glad you found your WF tribe Tammy. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Every contact, every opportunity, can lead to so much more. We just have to reach out.

Last week was #PitMad and there were a ton of YA stories pitched. Is that why you stopped following on Twitter?

Mark Noce said...

Glad you were able to make something positive out of what you were feeling, a great lesson for any of us:)

Yvonne Ventresca said...

What a great lesson, Tammy! Glad you found your tribe. :)

S.P. Bowers said...

I have a friend who writes WF and is invovled in a national WF orginization. I don't remember what it is called but I'm sure you can find a link to it on her blog.

Morgan said...

Love your fight! Love your energy! Love your ability to keep pushing! It's inspiring. Love. <3

Heather R. Holden said...

So happy you were able to find some WF connections! I know how frustrating it can be to be disconnected like that. (I always feel like I'm on the outside-looking-in when it comes to artists and comic creators, and nothing seems able to remedy that, either.) Congrats on being part of two writer's associations now, too! That's awesome. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do have trouble asking for help. I think my father taught me that. He would always help others but never ask for help himself. I think my living room is the only room in my huge house without bookshelves. We just pile them on end tables there.