Because of the Christmas holiday, the Query Tracker Blog chain gang is taking it easy this round and not assigning a topic. I’m first in the Jingle Bell Chain. Ack!
As the holidays approach, many of us turn inward and examine our lives to date and consider our dreams for the next year.
I am one of the most blessed people I know. I have a dream family, own my dream home, and live a dream life. I am able to stay home and do the things I love the most. I spend time with my adorable (don’t tell them I called them that–they hate that word) children and I can read and write without interruption for hours at a time.
My adorable (He doesn’t mind the word) husband is a criminal defense lawyer and has often warned the family of the dangers of online friends. He sees real life examples of online relationships taking dangerous or deadly turns in his job. For the first year I wrote, I avoided all social networking sites and forums. Online life was a waste of time and dangerous. Certainly, my husband knew what he was talking about. I mean, you never really know who that person on the other end of cyberspace is, do you?
That all changed one day when I received an email out of the blue from a writer who was a member of the QueryTracker Forum. I had used the QT main site to track my queries to agents, but wasn’t aware there was a forum on the site. She had read my interview with Patrick McDonald and had contacted me to let me know that I was the topic of conversation on one of the threads over on the forum. She invited me to join them. Well, what the heck? Someone was talkin’ about me? Online? In the black hole of anonymity and misinformation? Gah!
I checked out the forum and fell in love instantly. Not only with the forum, but with the people on it. Struggling aspiring authors just like ME! A whole community of people helping each other out and propping one another up. Dang. I’d done this alone for a whole year.
Looking back, I don’t know how I did it without my online friends. I had a large group of age-specific beta readers, but thanks to my online connections, I now have a crit group. Smart, driven women who want this as much as I do and are willing to work just as hard for it. I’m still wary and keep in mind that people are not always who they hold themselves out to be online, but I’m solid in my assessment of my online writer friends. My ever-skeptical husband has even softened his stance and asks me how some of my online friends are by name–a big breakthrough.
The downside? Well, unfortunately, I’m addicted to my online life, which is the only negative to my discovery of the secret world of writers. It takes great restraint to not surf the forums all day meeting fellow writers all over the world. Despite this ultimate test of my self-control and discipline, my online connections have made me a better writer, and in some ways, a better person.
So this Christmas, in addition to the usual gratitude for my family and real life friends, I am grateful for my online friends. Especially my darling friends on the QT chain gang.
Archetype is next in the chain this time. Head over and check out her Jingle Bell post.