Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Community of writers

Over the holidays, my mom asked me if I had any friends who weren’t writers. I had to think hard. I do have a couple of friends from high school and a couple of friends from my working years as an accountant. We get together for lunch maybe once a year. But for the most part, yeah, all my friends are writers. My mom is worried that my whole life is writing and nothing else, and that I work too hard. I write seven days a week, I get up at 5:30 a.m. and start my promotion stuff for the day, then I have to write my ten to fifteen pages (or revise or edit). I do take time off for coffee or lunch with my friends. But we talk about writing!

So yeah, my whole life is writing, but is that necessarily a bad thing? What I find is that I constantly turn to the writing community I’m a part of to cheer me on over my triumphs, for support and commiseration when the chips are down, to help me brainstorm through a writing problem, to do promotion with, to talk with, to gather information from, to help me feel connected when I’m alone in my office all day long. I love my accounting friends, and I enjoyed all the years I worked with them, but honestly, they didn’t permeate my life the way my writing friends do. But then writing is such a different kind of career. I put myself out there daily to be trashed, by reviewers, by fans. Most people have only really nice things to say, but there are those who don’t think of me as a person and don’t care how what they say makes me feel. And I’m not even going back to all the years of rejection before I was published. Writers have to have very thick skins to survive. They also have to have the support of great friends. I couldn’t do this without them. So thank you, each and every one of you, old writing friends and new. And Mom, thanks for being concerned about me, but I belong to a great community of writers, and that’s just perfect for me.

If you’re a writer, I’d love to hear your support stories. If you’re a reader, what community do you belong to that helps you through the daily grind? For those of you who post, I’ll enter you into a drawing for an autographed copy of my book The Fortune Hunter. Please leave your email address so I know how to contact you if you win.

Be sure to stop by my Jasmine Blog, too, this week, I’m giving away some historical books. Today, I’m also posting an excerpt of Unlaced, our CAPA nominee, on the TRS Blue yahoo group. If you’re not a member, you can join at The Romance Studio. Jan 16th and 17th, please join Romance Divas for “The Sexual Journey: Character Growth in Erotic Romance,” a lively workshop with authors Zane, Joey W. Hill, Denise Rossetti, Tina Burns and me. This workshop will be held in the Diva's Secrets Steamy section which requires special permission. Please contact an administrator when you have created an account. There are no requirements other than your statement that you are over 18. This is for readers and authors alike so come and join us.

Jasmine, Jennifer and JB!


Helen said...

Sounds like you have some great friends Jasmine and aren't they the best.
I am a reader and have my wonderful family and a great group of friends at work and a few other friends that I wouldn't be able to do without. They are always there for me as I am for them.

Have Fun

sarabelle said...

Hello Jasmine. I think its great that you love your work so much that you have a group of friends to share it with. Its even better because you all have something in common, which means no "dead air" during lunch. I have my kids and husband and a few close friends to help me with daily grind, and I wouldnt trade them for the world. By the way I LOVE YOUR BOOKS. YOU ROCK!

sarabelle said...

ooopsss email

Raven99 said...

Hi Jasmine,

It sounds like you have a terrific group of friends to support you and give you advice. It's important to have people in your life who have the same experiences and problems as you do - people who can identify with your situation. They can understand where you are coming from and share their wisdom with you on how they deal with situations.

My family is my main support system right now. However, I was a teacher for a few years; and I was amazed at how wonderful other teachers were at embracing me and guiding me during that time. They really gave me good advice. I will always be grateful to them.

Estella said...

I am a reader and my family is my support group.
I love reading your boooks!

Jasmine Haynes said...

Yes, Helen! Friends are the best. I'm glad you've got a great family and wonderful work friends.

And thank you, Sarah, I'm so glad you love the books. I forgot to say there's a new excerpt of Fair Game up on the site, too! Glad you've got the close friends, too! It is true that my friends and I never have dead air. God, sometimes we can't get a word in edgewise!

Raven, I do think we find a lot of support at work. When I was with all the same people every day for 15 years, yep, that was a great group!

Thanks, Estella! Families are the greatest!

Pat Cochran said...


My support group is called family.
It includes my husband of almost 48
years, my children & their spouses,
my grandchildren, my remaining 6
siblings, their families, friends
from high school, friends from when
our children were in school together, and friends from church. When I need them, they are always there!

Pat Cochran

Jasmine Haynes said...

That's wonderful, Pat! 48 years! Wow. You've got a huge family and I'm so happy for you.

Joey W. Hill said...

Jasmine, what a wonderful blog. While every career has challenges, I agree that to be successful as writers we MUST have someone(s) who help support us in what is pretty much a solitary and fulltime endeavor. And when I say fulltime, I mean it exactly as you described it: "full time". If you're not writing, you're editing. If you're not editing, you're promo'ing, answering email, handling cover art requests, etc.

My support system is three-tiered, and they're all vital. Tier One - Without my husbandm, it wouldn't work. He helps me over rough patches, brainstorming when I get stuck, and won't let me give up and go get a day job at Wal-mart (smile) when I go crazy over juggling family concerns with this career.

Tier Two and Three are equally important to me - the writers and the readers. I had the experience of coming up through e-publishing, and that was an incredibly supportive group from the get-go, because we were in the no-man's land of publishing, the "when are you going to get a real publisher" group. Fortunately that has changed, but those friendships have persevered to this day, and I've added vital news ones since coming on board with New York as well - like you! You hear a lot about cattiness in this profession, and yes, it does exist. But it's far outweighed by people who know this is a really tough business, and being supportive helps all of us.

And finally, those crucial readers. I always tell mine that when they take the time to send me an email telling me how they felt about my work, it gives me juice to write the next ten pages, honestly. Don't know how many of my readers have started their email with "I've never written an author before, because I didn't want to bug them". BUG us! We desperately need you to do so. I even welcome constructive negative feedback, because it means they care (smile).

So there's my rambling, far too long response. But you definitely tripped a switch for me. Very important topic for authors.

Jasmine Haynes said...

Thank you, Joey. What a great post! I totally agree with your assessment of the early days in e-publishing. The friends I made there are the core of my writer support group now. Then, I must say, what a wonderful experience it's been working with you, Jaci, and Denise on Unlaced. I feel I've made new friends! I have also gotten the emails starting with "I hate to bug you." Readers keep us going, and so many of them are so kind. I have another friend who joined my support group who was a fan with an email just like that.

All these support groups keep us going! Thanks for stopping by everyone!

I'm off to choose the winner of an autographed copy of The Fortune Hunter! Back in a moment!

Jasmine Haynes said...

Congratulations! The winner is Raven99! I'll be sending you an email for your snail mail so that I can mail off the book!

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Donna Alward said...

Jasmine I'm late to the party but I had to say what a great post! I was just thinking about this last night. I am in the same boat. Most of my friends ARE writers and I think this is because a) other writer's just get it, and get you, and b)with a lot of jobs you leave work behind you, but a writer is a writer 24/7, whether they are watching people at the grocery store or watching a dvd or reading a book or thinking about their characters while weeding the garden or folding laundry.

I think being a writer is not just what you are but who you are, and it makes us unique. From the outside it can seem like an insular, limiting existence, but from where I stand, the horizons are far and wide.

As far as support systems - I have my peeps...and a fantastic critique partner. And my family is what keeps me sane as well as driving me crazy. I'm pretty lucky.

Jasmine Haynes said...

You're so right, Donna, being a writer is different. It's all the time, everywhere you go, whoever you're with. Even when I worked as an accountant I defined myself as a writing making a living at accounting. And many of my experiences as an accountant show up in my books.

And you've put it well, many people see it as an insular life. That's how my mom views it. But the horizons are truly wide. Thanks for your thoughtful post!