Aug
31
2015

Find Your Tribe

Though writing is often a solitary profession, long time readers of In Brief will know of my vehement opposition to the idea that writers must be hermitish loners. After all, it takes many hands and minds to create a shelf-worthy book. More importantly however, it takes many voices to shape a hobbyist into an author.

Successful writers tend to gather a Tribe over time. They are fellow authors, both peers and mentors. They are friends and family. They are fans. But one and all, they are the people who influence our art, encourage our growth, and support our mental wellbeing. Tribe is fundamentally a positive force, people who like our vision and selflessly want to see us achieve our hopes and dreams.

Finding your tribe is an essential element to maintaining your sanity in a world that seems to want to rip you down with rejection letters and one star reviews. Writing is a long game, taking months or years to see the fruition of projects. Often, it takes a decade or more of practice before a young author is ready to send their works out into the greater world. During this time, emotional support and encouragement is essential. I have made some of my best writing friends by being unabashedly, almost theatrically, excited about their accomplishments and stories. Writers tend to have a fairly significant dramatic streak, so it works.

One of the most important things to remember is that the support from a Tribe doesn’t flow one way. While you can expect your Tribe to rally to your calls to action, you must also be willing to lend a helping hand and a signal boost. Most importantly, you must be willing to be the first to help. Waiting for others to do a favor for you first is fulfilling a debt, not being a friend.

You can find members for your Tribe just about anywhere. Though many authors seem to find their Tribe online these days, conventions and seminars are another great place to meet people. I found a large chunk of my tribe at the Superstars Writing Seminar, and most of the rest through my blogging and social media. However you find them, eventually your friends will start introducing you to the people they know and your Tribe will grow with every event you attend.

Tribe is a positive and supportive force. They are the people we go to when we feel discouraged or need an expert consultant. They are our friends, our brothers and sisters in arms, and the people who simultaneously help us keep grounded and give us the courage to reach for our personal star. Tribe is awesome.

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