Writing is a solitary career. Our characters become our friends and our writing pets, our partners. But you cannot underestimate the magic of writer friends. Last weekend, some of my friends were in Los Angeles for the annual SCBWI Conference. Every year, we meet for lunch--this group of us who had our debut MG and YA novels released in 2009. We are the Class of 2k9--there are 22 of us altogether. This year, there were four 2k9ers present: Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Ann Haywood Leal, Suzanne Morgan Williams and me. We speak during the year, via email or on the phone, and we are social media friends, so we stay updated on each other's news. But there is nothing like having time to talk to friends in person. I learn so much from them. Last weekend, we talked about new manuscripts, works-in-progress, agent news, trying to write different genres and then about our children and their adventures. I heard about exciting new stories, struggles with rewrites, publishing news and rejections. We have chosen the same profession and debuted at the same time. So even if our careers follow different paths, we will always be connected--because we embarked that first year together. We will always be friends.
If you are a writer, I highly recommend you make some writer friends. Join a writer's group. If you write for children, start with SCBWI. If you are about to be published for the first time, find a group of other writers like you who can cross-promote. If you are already published, join a group blog. Ann Haywood Leal and I have just joined Smack Dab in the Middle, a blog for middle grade authors. Today, reach out to a friend. Maybe someone you talk to every single day or someone you haven't spoken with in over a year. I'm going to email a writer I haven't heard from in a long while, Susanna Leonard Hill. Susanna was my very first writer friend 12 years ago. We have never met in person, since she lives on the East Coast, and I live on the West Coast. But it has never seemed to matter because we are bonded over the profession of writing for children. If you don't have a writer friend, make a commitment to make one today.
There is power in friendship.