There is trite but true saying: Never judge a book by its cover.
But what if that book cover demands your attention at first sight? What if it’s satin bound and jewel encrusted? How about a black and purple silk cover with leather around the edge? Cream cashmere and red suede or a snow leopard front with a tribal skull on the back? These are all books that I would have to pick up. They would draw my interest and I’d be dying to know what was written on the pages in between.
Turns out I did pick up these books, some a few months or a few years ago, and I was not disappointed by the story inside. While the outside intrigued me immediately, it’s what I read when a sat down in a cozy nook that spoke to my heart. I was a little in awe, but mostly energized by these new books. When I saw the motivation, the conflict, the arc of their stories, even some of their black moments – I knew these books were going on my keeper shelf. These books were not fiction. They’re the real deal. And while I couldn’t read them every day, they’d be there when I needed them. I could easily find them and they’d comfort me, amuse me, let me cry or kick my butt – whatever I needed at that moment.
These books are my girlz: my blog buddies, my critique circle, my career partners. They’re my people, my tribe! Yes, I have my family, friends from childhood, my exercise buddies. I love them all in ways I cannot describe, but I don’t share the same career dream with them. My girlz are on a quest with me. They get it. Sometimes the quest requires sympathy. Other times it requires a motivational speaker with major ‘Put on your big girl panties’ skills. They do both and they do it frighteningly well. J
I don’t get a lot of face time with my tribe, but this weekend I did. (I will simply say, “Writers’ conferences are vital to your career! Go to them!” and leave it at that. I imagine someone else will cover this on our blog in greater detail.) Today, I am exhausted from late night chatting, pitch appointments, talking shop, and the mother of all dance parties – but I’m also invigorated. I owe that to my girlz. I feel so alive! Not only am I ready to tackle this writer To Do list that rivals the length of War & Peace, I want to tackle it. I will make this published author gig happen! And when it does, I know a big part of the reason is my girlz. 50% my hard work and determination, 10% luck, and 40% their positive influence and invaluable critique.
I say this to all writers: Find your tribe! They don’t have to write the same genre or even be in the same writing organizations with you. In fact, it’s better if you have a good mix. Your tribe is made up of writers that understand, appreciate, and respect you. They have the same or similar goals. You’ll know them when you meet them. At first you may just be curious because their cover looks all cute and Boho, but then there’s THE glam king, David Bowie on their back blurb. It’s a paradox and, to you, it’s awesome. Great! Go over and talk. Find out what’s really inside and see if their story is one you relate with, one you understand and feel you can mutually influence for the better. If so, collect them and keep them close, because they are your people. Read the book of who they are, cherish them, and together, share the stories you write with the world.