It's repeated thousands of times, but writing is very isolating. You are doing it in your head, with your fingers, on your computer (or notebook). No one else can write the words for you.
Yet it's also repeated just as often that the best writers are surrounded by the support and advice of others. The classic example people love to give is J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. Without their friendship, their best works might not have existed. Not that I am saying I might be writing the next Lord of the Rings or anything, but the feedback of other writers has been essential to my development, especially in these early months.
Through the magic of the internet, it is certainly easier to connect than it was for writers in the past. While it's amazing to be able to exchange messages with people from all over the world, there is nothing quite like sitting across from someone and talking about your work in person.
That's exactly what I was able to do for the first time in September, when I drove about an hour away to the house of someone I met in a Facebook group. While our friends were very nervous about us meeting "a stranger from the internet," we both knew it would be fine. We met in a group for mom writers, and we both have a podcast that focuses on that (here's mine and here's hers!). When we found out that we lived so close, so it seemed silly not to try and meet in person. (And yes, there is a joint podcast episode coming soon!)
Looking back, I am not sure why I waited until after self-publishing my first book before reaching out to other authors. Maybe because I know if I talk too much about something, I won't do it (analysis paralysis). So I just did it, and saved the talking for after.
I've written before about impostor syndrome. Joining author groups and things like that fit into the category in my mind of "I can't do that until I'm a real writer." Meeting another writer in person falls most definitely in this category.
But I did it! And I'm so happy I did. I'm slowly building up my writing community, and it's giving a whole new confidence and direction to my writing. The next step is going to a writing conference! But with all the options, I've got analysis paralysis again...
So tell me, what's your favorite conference to meet and chat with fellow writers?