Last night I was talking to the lovely Fran Terminiello about writing stuff in general, anthology submissions and so on, and she mentioned the following:
I’ve got this book called the 3am epiphany [Edit: written by Brian Kitely] and in the back it says this:
Read famous writers’ biographies and you will read of the friendships these writers had with other famous writers. I used to think this was a matter of cruel luck; what chance was there that I would happen to meet other writers destined for success – how would I recognise them? But there is a simple lesson in this: Good writing breeds more good writing. Smart writers seek out other smart writers. Your friends’ successes should be cause for celebration, not irritation or depression, because their successes may lead directly or indirectly to your own – and it is simply good karma to hope for happiness in others.
It certainly seems to be the case. Through Twitter and attending cons, I’ve slowly but surely (and not even that slowly) built up a circle of friends who are serious about their writing, but also building up circles of their own. I can’t even remember how I met Fran, but I do remember going out for dinner with her and a bunch of others at last year’s FantasyCon (very much looking forward to doing it again this year). These friends include people like Adele Wearing, who recently set up Fox Spirit – the publisher who asked did I still want to put together the anthology I’d had the idea for back at alt.fiction? I did. They also include Leona Bushman, whose debut paranormal romance THE ULFRIC’S MATE just became available today for pre-order at Breathless Press. And they include Kait Nolan, Susan Bischoff and Ren Warom who have all found agents since I met them.
The thing is, I wasn’t even trying to meet these people. We just… coincided. We’re all at similar stages in our careers – I know I haven’t published or got an agent yet but I’m pretty close – and we’ve all just been doing our own thing, independently of anyone else. We’re not wannabes. We’re working at this. And it’s paying off. And we’re meeting other people who are making similar efforts which are also paying off.
So it’s not so much that published authors tend to stick together because they’re published (although that’s part of it, certainly, from what I’ve observed). It’s really just that contemporaries stick together. Because they’re not just your colleagues. They’re your friends. Your support system. They get it. They get you.
I guess I don’t have much of a point beyond reiterating what was stated in the passage above. That whatever you focus your energies on is what you will get, and you will attract people who are focussing on the same thing. It’s often mentioned in conjunction with success in fitness. Surround yourself with people who think the same way as you and the positive energy will help you achieve your goals. The fact that I wasn’t even trying to do this just goes to show how helpful the universe can be. My friends’ successes are not only occasion for celebration of their achievements, but also an indication that I too can achieve that, because in the end we all started in the same place. Unknown. It’s hard to remember that when you’re looking at someone who’s been published since forever (to my 32 yro standpoint) and stratospherically famous for nearly as long (I’m looking at you, Sir Terry Pratchett). They all started from the bottom, too, but it’s a lot easier to remember when you see the process unfold around you.