Human beings are not solitary creatures. Much to my cynic's heart's displeasure, we must interact with other people or we likely go crazy (yes, we even have to interact with mothers-in-law).
The importance of a writing community or a reading community or a knitter's community is important because it gives you peers to interact with, learn from and support. A great kind of community gives you support when you need it but also stretches you past your boundaries every once in a while.
I believe that I belong to many tribes and each has its purpose and strengths. I have a tribe of poets that challenge me to write frequently, submit frequently and most importantly, get better. They expose me to new themes, new styles and new writers. Without the support of my poet tribe, I never would have had the guts to submit my work, therefore, I never would've gotten published. I never would've gone on to read my work aloud to a room full of strangers. I have a romance/erotica writers tribe that largely exists only on the internet. They send each other funny/sexy/goofy messages. We oogle over beautiful people together. We brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other. Those writers make me feel special and talented and loved.
Here's why I believe you need to find your tribe.
- Find support: Everyone needs a cheerleader. Someone to give you the confidence to keep on trucking and someone to pour you some wine at the end of the night and remind you that tomorrow is a new start.
- Give support: You know one way to feel better about your contribution in the world? Tell someone that they are doing a good job. Mean it. Say it often. You'll feel better and so will they.
- Push yourself: I'll admit that I'm a competitive person. I mean, Monopoly is basically banned in our house unless my husband feels like losing an eye. So, when I see other people doing well for themselves, I want a piece of that success pie too. Seeing other people forge a path can give you the confidence to forge one for yourself.
- Learn something: Someone else might have made the mistake before you. Be smart and learn from their consequences so you don't have to face them yourself. Learn about your craft, your audience. Find your weak spots and try to build on them from the foundation of other people's experiences.
- Teach something: Best way to learn something is to teach it. Try your best. Share your successes and your failures. Someone might learn from you and that's a beautiful feeling.
How did you find your tribe? Let me know in the comments below! :)