Remember those dark, empty, forlorn days when we obsessively checked our mail box or e-mail for that one letter? How many of us have gray hair from then?? :D How much darker it would have been without the loving support of our friends--especially that of our writerly friends!
Writerly friends? They are wonderful people who understand our crazed mania for the written word, wouldn't you agree? ;)
I've searched for inspiring articles to share with you about friendships, and just how powerful they can be (friends, not articles though articles can be just as powerful!). A great writer is someone who once stood on the shoulders of another great writer.
Here is the part of the article I found in the Ensign that applies to us needy writers:
"When she arrived in the San Francisco Bay area, she was alone and needed to establish herself in a social circle. She weighed her options: meet friends as she had during school—at bars—or go back to church and meet friends there.
"April chose church. It was not easy. She still thought the Church crowd was stale and even odd, but she felt an inner pull to reconnect with the Spirit. She gave herself six months to find friends, and if unsuccessful, she would return to the scene she felt more accustomed to."
How many of us have felt that way in the world of writers as we tried to break into it? Or even during the process of finding our place in it?
"April began attending a young single adult ward, sitting on the back row and sneaking out after sacrament meeting. She gradually stayed for all meetings. Almost six months to the day after deciding to come back to church, she realized she felt comfortable there, she had made several good friends, and most important, she was feeling the Spirit again and gaining a testimony of the gospel. She decided to stay."
We can apply April's experience in finding her social life to ours as writers with other writers. Mingling. Sharing. Growing. The best way to do this is to go to conferences.
Be witty. Be resilient. Be bold.
"“Thank goodness I chose the Church,” April says. “It’s made all the difference. I’ve been able to make lots of friends, and that’s helped me get my life back on track and going in the right direction. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and although I have many good friends who aren’t LDS, I still need to have the influence of my friends who are.”"
Heavenly Father wants us to reach out to others. To influence them so that they feel uplifted, loved, cherished. Think about it. Would you be where you are without the support of good friends? How about good writing pals?
On the other side of the book cover ;), is our writing doing the same? Uplifting our readers? Loving our readers? Cherishing our readers?
"As a young single Church member myself, I have often been struck by the power my friends and associates have to influence the choices I make—large and small. Most often I’ve been struck by how that power can be wielded for good. I have been impressed again and again as I’ve watched individuals and groups make good decisions—and as my friends have helped me make good choices too."
Ah, the powerful influence of networking . . .
"Surrounding ourselves by good people is a principle most of us have been taught since our youth, but finding good associates—especially when we are establishing our own lives away from our parents—can be challenging. Several young single adults have shared their ideas with me about where and how to cultivate good associates."
You can also say this about writing. Surround ourselves by writing people. I know that some of us live in islands of normal people--c'mon, you've got to admit that writers are nuts, aren't we? The voices in our heads never cease! ;) But that's the beauty of the internet! We can connect with writers in Germany if we wanted! Join online writers groups . . . Heaven's the limit! ;)
"Good associates may not ultimately share all our values or beliefs, but they will understand them, respect them, and help us honor them. True friends never ask us to be less than we should be, and they consistently help us to be better. These are the friendships we should honor and treasure."
Oh how true this is! It doesn't matter where their faith is founded so long as they "never ask us to be less than we should be, and . . . consistently help us to be better." And, of course, the same applies to us on how we influence others. ;)
"The Marks of a True Friend
The scriptures provide the surest guide to finding and being true friends:
Bear one another’s burdens.
“Ye are … willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8–9).
Share testimony with each other.
“Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in” (Mosiah 18:9).
“A friend loveth at all times” (Prov. 17:17).
Be a good influence.
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).
“Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands” (D&C 121:9).
Give of yourself.
I find this a very exciting time to becoming an author. We are signing ourselves into God's army as we bravely march into the lone and dreary wilderness.
Tell me how you've reached to others with their writing. How does it make you feel when you know that you are making a difference in their lives?
For my March 17 post, I will provide as many connections to writers as I possibly can come up with!