You’ve all read in one post or another that I currently live one thousand miles away from “home.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t keep in touch with family and friends. I still talk to my parents every day. I talk to my sister all the time. You all know I’m in frequent contact with my beloved grandmother. My brother is really more of a Facebook commenter or a texter, but I still know what’s going on in his life. And I still keep in touch with friends I’ve known all through school (college all the way back through kindergarten).
But that’s not why I say the world is shrinking.
When I decided to pursue my fiction-writing career, I didn’t wade into the pool. I jumped right into the deep end. Even though I had a creative writing degree, I bought books, I read blogs, I wrote every day, I joined a critique group, I went to conferences… I did everything they said to do to become successful. “They” being the experts. And one of the things I did was sign up for an online course to teach me about building my online presence. More than a year after that fateful day, a small segment of those students have splintered off and formed a private fiction writing group of our own.
There are students in that group from four different continents, more time zones and countries than I can count. We are different races, religions, backgrounds, ages. We write different genres and have different competencies. I’ve recently discovered mine is NOT figuring out how to switch a wordpress.com blog over to self-hosted. Guess what? A lot of my new friends are quite competent at just that.
We share everything. We celebrate each others’ victories. Commiserate each others’ setbacks. Offer encouragement when someone is down, a suggestion when someone is stuck. If a contest is posted, we pass the word along. If we see a pertinent article, we post it for everyone’s benefit. Someone needs a beta read? Done. We hold each other accountable, but we help when someone needs it.
I needed help this week, and I benefitted from the collective wisdom of the group. People came together en masse to offer their support and their knowledge to get my problems fixed. It’s not entirely easy when you’re long distance, but it’s great knowing you have a support system in place.
I have the best friends in the world. I’ve just never met any of them.
I’m finally sitting down with a good friend I have met (many times). Hopefully she can get the rest of my issues straightened out. Or at least get me in a better spot than I’m in now. In the meantime, I appreciate your continued patience while I sort all this out. You’re also some of the best friends I’ve never actually met.
Every hero needs help once in a while when trying to save the day. No one is perfect. No one can do everything on his own. Have you considered letting your hero’s help come from somewhere far away? Some online or phone assistance that he can’t physically see or touch? Some movies have used this technique effectively. Think of the 911 operator guiding someone through a crisis or air traffic controllers helping a novice land a plane. Maybe you can have a situation where your assistance comes from afar as well.
I’m lucky. I have a strong family support system, both in my home and in my hometown one thousand miles away. I also have friends where I live and friends all around the world. Do you have a network of people you can turn to when you need something? Have you found a go-to group online? Let’s talk about where you go for answers to your questions.