Over the last year or so I've focused on making more time for my writing, on building it into my life and routine. I've started taking my writing more seriously and devoting the kind of time and attention to it that I've always felt I couldn't justify. Sometimes it can feel like if you aren't published, if you don't have a slew of awards, if your books aren't being made into movies, then you aren't a real writer. But I think that anyone who writes can call themselves a writer without having to feel like a fraud. For me, it has been an important part of building my writing life.
Aside from spending more time on my writing, I've tried to focus more on writing craft, including writing a series about books on writing craft. After spending some time trying different tips and going through some trial and error, I'm starting to figure out what works for me and what doesn't, what techniques I like to use and which just derail my progress. Beyond techniques that are specific to writers, I've begun listening to podcasts and reading books about business development, goal setting, and productivity.
Of course, building a writing life is more than just doing the writing and working out the mechanics of developing a writing habit that works. There has always been a piece of the puzzle that I have been hesitant to start working on: meeting others in the writing community. I've gotten involved in communities of writers and bookish people on Twitter and Instagram. It has been great to connect with other writers from across the country and the world, to interact with a community of lovely, supportive people. However, I've never pushed myself to go meet other writers in real life.
Like a lot of writers, I'm an introvert. Crowds are difficult for me and I struggle when I am in a room full of people where I don't know anyone. So, it isn't surprising that I've put off meeting other writers for so long. But, I decided that I was going to go to a writers conference this year. So, I researched upcoming conferences and decided on one to attend. Today was the first day of that conference. I'm planning on writing a separate post all about my first conference, but I will say that I am glad I pushed myself to go.
The writing community is full of kind, awesome people, and to not meet some of them is to really miss out. So far, this conference has shown me that I can put myself out there, I can do things that feel a bit uncomfortable. Already, I've gotten great advice, got to figure out a bit more of the publishing side of things, met with other people who are in the same stages of the writing careers as me as well as those who are already published. I was so nervous about this conference that I barely slept the night before, but it has gotten off to a great start. I've always wanted to be more involved in the writing community and make that community a greater part of my writing life. From conferences to other writers on social media, it helps to know that you aren't alone out there and your writing life doesn't have to be solitary.