Category Archives: Writing Toolbox
Not Alone in the Realm
Writing often seems like a lonely endeavor. I’ve spent a lot of time tapping away at the laptop or scribbling in a notebook. I’ve stared out the window visualizing a scene, softly speaking it aloud to hear how it sounds. I’ve walked the valley of burnout and scaled the mountain of inspiration. The writing comes fast and furiously, or the writing doesn’t come at all.
I presented myself faithfully to my writing (almost every day) even as I wanted to join friends and family in other activities. I declined invitations and didn’t issue any of my own.
I’ve been in the house alone (except for five demanding cats), but if anyone was present, I politely requested quiet, which meant I was alone in my thoughts and in the world I was creating.
As I reflect, though, I have come to realize that I was never alone at all.
There was much about writing/the writing process with which I struggled. I’m not going to detail everything here because it’s deeply personal, but the short version is that I turned everything about writing over to God. I made it my goal that all my writing and my talents would glorify God, and when I did, that’s when I understood that all the guidance I’d been praying for had occurred as I’d hoped, just not in the ways I expected. I wasn’t alone.
Then, a savvy friend, who pointed out that better critiques could be given if the beta reader was familiar with the entire work, committed to being part of my project. We traded novels from beginning to end, and what we came away with was better writing. I was not alone.
Factor in four additional beta readers, all reading the entire manuscript and all providing a different perspective. What each found polished Realm even more. Again, not alone.
Then there was my editor, whose enthusiasm for my project and sharp eye for detail, put the final polish on my novel. We met several times, e-mailed, and texted throughout the process. Amazing critiques and suggestions were offered and applied, we worked through some points to clarify what I wanted to say, and I even got to keep some things I liked without changing them. A working relationship was born, but the friendship that came from it trumped everything. Still, not alone.
Writers’ groups, friends, family, and the occasional stranger all offered encouragement and advice in person and on social media. Slowly but surely, the perceived vacuum of the writing life transformed into a community of support. And this support only intensified once Realm was published. Absolutely not alone.
And then there was everyone at BookBaby from the publishing specialist to the design team to the support staff who walked this first-time author through the process and calmed all her worries, concerns, and not a few fears. So totally not alone.
I mention all of this because if you’re considering taking the first step toward writing, please know that writing is hard. The writing life is full of highs and lows, but one thing it never need be is lonely. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be surrounded by people even when it’s just you tapping away at the laptop or scribbling in a notebook.