Fired up by the my first short story sale, I decided it was time to join a writers group. The first online one I found was the AHWA Crit Group and one of the names on the mailing list seemed a bit familiar. Turned out one of the other writers was on the TOC of that anthology as well! Talk about a small world! Thus, I met Alan Baxter.
Alan wears many hats. From prolific short story writer, with credits in some Australia’s most prestigious anthologies of recent times, to a leading exponent of social media, he also podcasts and has self published an excellent book on writing fight scenes. I really don’t know how he finds the time, to be honest! But, that makes me all the more grateful that he found the time share this article on the importance of working with others.
Beware – Harsh truth approaching: We are not good enough.
None of us are. Sure, we can get good. Good enough to be published, in fact. We can continually get better, assuming we have that desire and constantly work at our craft, which we all should. But, on our own, in our little bubbles of imagination and twisted ideas, we’re not good enough. We need to be better than we’re capable of being on our own. For that, we need the unbiased, critical eyes of others.
It’s fine to stay in a self-contained cave of writing and slowly improve, but I would suggest that even if a person does manage to train themselves up to heights of great achievement and score really sweet publications, those stories could still be better with the help of critical input.
As writers, we work alone. It’s part of the job and it’s one of the things I love about it. I also love the community I’ve gathered around myself over the years, online and in real life. This would be a thankless endeavour without them, because for every success, there are many failures. And it’s with all those failures that the doubt creeps in. And that’s where we need our writerly friends.