Better Together: Finding Support as a Writer

Better Together: Finding Support as a Writer

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Today I want to talk about confidence, and sometimes the lack of it.

About four and a half years ago, my mom died. In terms of my writing career it had been an amazing year, with two book tours, one book nominated for an award, and another one out in the fall. But when mom passed on that summer, I lost my desire for writing. It felt pointless. There were many times over the next two years when the thought came that maybe I “should” try and write, but it was easily given over to happier things. That’s because writing, for me, involves going inside myself and often touching on ideas that are hard to think about, and I just wasn’t ready for that.

Eventually the time came when I did want to write again — only now I had no faith that I could. The thoughts that rambled around in my mind went something like this:

“It’s been too long, I’ve lost my momentum.”

“I was never really any good in the first place, so why bother.”

“I’ll never be able to get that discipline back.”

“You don’t even have a story anyone would be interested in.”

“You blew it, you let your career fizzle out.”

Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about. I had lost my confidence and it was debilitating, until an idea came to me about what I needed: support.

In the past I’d written without support, though I’d heard of others who were part of a writing group. I got on the BC CWILL listserv and put out a call and found four authors who wanted to form a group with me. Our monthly meetings gave me the deadline I needed to stop procrastinating; the positive feedback helped build my confidence back up, and being amongst fellow writers reminded my why I love to write.

A year after forming our group I had a manuscript and a new book contract. That book is called The Jigsaw Puzzle King, and Dundurn released it last month. It’s my first in over four years. It’s slowly gaining momentum; recently it was one of The 49th Shelf’s books of the week.

What about the other members of my writing group? They too have found success — finishing their own manuscripts, getting contracts, starting new projects. Aside from regaining the confidence to be a writer, I learned that if I needed to, I could get anywhere I wanted on my own, but it’s way more fun doing it with others.