I’m Here to Make Friends

Awhile back, Nathan Bransford linked to this video, which I think is amusing. It’s a montage of all these people on reality TV shows insisting they’re there to win the prize, not to make friends. If you watch any reality TV, you know “I’m not here to make friends” is a common attempt to justify being a total jerk.

In a way, I think this online community of writers, editors and agents is kind of like a reality show. We’re all living in this big house together, and many of us are competing with one another for a limited number of “prizes.”

I am here to win. I am here to sell books to publishers. Other agents are, too, and we are trying to fill the same limited spots on the same publishers’ lists. They’re my competition.

But I would never in a million years say (in the requisite snotty voice), “I’m not here to make friends” and then proceed to alienate every other agent out there.

As a matter of fact, I AM sort of here to make friends. I could easily do this job without ever going on Facebook or Twitter, and certainly without blogging. But that’s not how I’m wired. During the many years I spent in corporate America, I was always (to the chagrin of my bosses) down at the watercooler or the coffee pot or the lunchroom or my friends’ offices. I needed interaction. I liked talking to my friends.

Now I work alone in my office, and although I do have meetings frequently, I still need human interaction on a daily basis. That’s just how I function. So I love making friends with writers and editors and other agents.

What does this have to do with you? I think you’re here to make friends, too. And if you’re not, you should be. Publishing is a hard road and it can be a lonely business. Your spouse, your kids and your friends most likely won’t “get it.” I think it’s helpful and healthy to be part of a community of like-minded folks who understand you, and out of that you can develop some real friendships. Not to mention the fact that a lot of business gets done in this industry through friendships.

So don’t be afraid to be hanging out here because you want to make friends. There’s nothing wrong with it. And I think your life will be richer for it.

Q4U: Have you made real friends through hanging around in writing/publishing circles? Tell us about it.

P.S. to Nathan: I got this post idea from your post, “What I Learned About Writing While Watching Reality Television” which I thought was awesome. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Or is it plagiarism? I can never remember.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  6. Kathleen Pooler on January 28, 2010 at 10:20 PM


    Your comments on making friends are refreshing to a new writer trying to find her way through all the rules and regs of this challenging business. I have met some wonderful new friends online who have inspired me to move forward, Thanks for the encouragement. I love your blog!

  7. Jennette on January 28, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    >This is so true. I'm here to make friends, but I am new to cyberspace and I don't know why it has taken me so long to get here. I mean my mom is even posting on forums and I'm just getting started. I enjoy this blog. Thanks, Rachelle, for taking the time to do this.

  8. Glynis on January 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    >I AM here to make friends, they are my writing support.

    Good post, thanks.

  9. Sharon A. Lavy on January 28, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    >The writing community is awesome. We are normal, just different. And it is soothing to find others who think sort of like we do.

    Finally I am free to be me.

  10. Steve on January 28, 2010 at 5:29 AM


    I really like this post. This goes to the heart of the very best of what the Internet makes possible. After the buzzing cloud of biting and stinging insects flew out of Pandora's Box to plague the world, the one lovely creature left was Hope. The kind of agent blogs pioneered by you and Nathan, among others, will inevitably change the dynamic of relations between agents and aspirants to traditional publication. Being part of a common community is the best counterforce I know of to the adversarial attitude and outright snarkiness that still characterizes much of the literary and publishing world.

    Thank you for your efforts.


  11. Karen Jordan on January 27, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    >I have made some lifetime friends in my journey as a writer as I connected with other writers in classes, conferences, church, organizations. We seem to gravitate toward one another, sharing our dreams, our successes, and our rejection slips. We laugh, cry, and face our fear of pitches and submissions together. We read each other's "stuff" and offer constructive criticism. And we do all this because we "get it." My friend at church once introduced me as her "writing nerd friend"–I guess that says it all, huh?

  12. SharonKendrew on January 27, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    >At the Backspace conference last year I connected with 3 special people. Together we have supported each other's writing, blogs and lives.

    Although we are scattered all over the country, we have stayed in touch and look forward to seeing each other at this year's conference.

    Every email we send is signed SYA – See you at Arno's – the place we all first had dinner together and the place where the first one published will pick up the check.

    I hope we get to fight for the bill.

  13. Anonymous on January 27, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    >Nice to hear about others' struggles with so much doom & gloom in publishing now. Any positive news for a change?

  14. Heather on January 27, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    >I love my writer friends!! I was blessed as a writing-crazy teen to find a girl just a year older than me who was also writing-crazy. For about 5 years now, we've emailed and talked and never had enough time to do either–whether critiquing, whining, or brainstorming.
    She and other friends I've made through the years definitely have saved my sanity!
    I've also been blessed with a amazing fiance who recognizes that writing is a part of me, so he does all he can to encourage it. That, I think, is the biggest encouragement I could ever have.

  15. Carrie Turansky on January 27, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    >Connecting with writer friends has been a lifeline and a blessing! ACFW has been key in helping me meet other writers on a local and national level. It also helped me meet my agent and make connections that led to publication.

    I am spending three days with one of my writer friends this week. We love brainstorming over meals, then hibernating to write for a few hours, then sharing what we've written and working out problems together. She just helped me come up with a great insult for an argument between my hero and his brother!

  16. DL Hammons on January 27, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    >It's still too early to tell, but I really hope I've made some true-life friends through this community. Only time will tell.

  17. Shelby on January 27, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    >absolutely here to make friends. it is why I do what I do.. now if I could just make some money.

  18. Jemi Fraser on January 27, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    >I've met soooooo many great people online. I don't know if I'll ever really "meet" them, but some of them have become really good buddies. I can't imagine going through this without them 🙂

  19. Joylene Butler on January 27, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    >Amanda, there are so many groups. Here's a few to try (type the names in a search window in Facebook):

    Red River Writers
    Second Wind Publishing LLC
    Suspense/Thriller Writers

    Also, type in fiction writers groups and more will pop up.

  20. Amanda on January 27, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    >I just joined Facebook yesterday so I am still looking for writer friends. I have high hopes! Any suggestions on how to track down fellow writers on Facebook?

  21. Lissa on January 27, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    >Your approach to the publishing business is so refreshing. I am relieved just to know that there are still nice people out there.

  22. Timothy Fish on January 27, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    >I could be wrong, but I’m not sure any of us thought of it as a competition until we finished that first book, when we woke up and realized just how many other people have written books. Perhaps I’m delusional, but I still don’t. I can see how some people might see it that way, but just who is my competition? Is it the woman writing a spiritual memoir? I don’t write spiritual memoirs. I don’t read spiritual memoirs. If someone writes one and sells it to people who do, more power to her; it doesn’t impact me in the least. Or what of the romance author? I don’t write those either, so why should it bother me if see another author take one of the romance slots?

    So we might assume that my competition is an author who writes stories similar to mine. C. J. Darlington’s book Thicker Than Blood is probably about as close to what I have on the market as anything I’ve seen recently, so the game’s afoot, you might think. The gloves are off. Or are they? If her writing is truly anything like my own, then the best thing that could happen for my books would be for readers to fall in love with her book. If they love what she’s written, then maybe they’ll love what I’ve written. The more people who love that kind of book, the more money will be available to support my efforts.

  23. Sarah on January 27, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    >My critique group, the Slushbusters, are good friends of mine! We've been together for a few years, and I don't know what I would've done without their wonderful blend of (brutal) honesty and sympathy.

    And don't get me started about the folks I've met blogging. It's been a wonderful way to connect to even more folks in the children's writing community.

  24. Diane Marie Shaw on January 27, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    >I have met the most wonderful group of people at Words for the Journey, the writer's guild I attend. I consider them all my friends, they get it about writing, they share my world. I have grown so much in the last year because of them. I am definitely here to make friends.
    Writers, I love you all.

  25. Kristi on January 27, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    >I love this subject!

    The best two things I've been suprised to find concerning blogging have been this:

    1 – I need and love meeting other writer's. I've made friends. I now have an online critigue group with a few of them and I know they make my writing better and more than that…we have fun.

    2 – Writing, even in a blog format, helps my other writing. It helps my voice and my thought process.

    Not to mention the loads of tips and advice that is out there for the taking!

  26. Kristi on January 27, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    >I love this subject!

    The best two things I've been suprised to find concerning blogging have been this:

    1 – I need and love meeting other writer's. I've made friends. I now have an online critigue group with a few of them and I know they make my writing better and more than that…we have fun.

    2 – Writing, even in a blog format, helps my other writing. It helps my voice and my thought process.

    Not to mention the loads of tips and advice that is out there for the taking!

  27. Shannon Taylor Vannatter on January 27, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    >I did this writing thing alone for a couple of years. Then I joined two local writers groups. I made friends there, but because of different ages (I was always the youngest by far) and genres (almost no one wrote inspirational) not close friends. I learned a lot in those groups and got a lot of encouragement.

    About 4 years later, I discovered ACFW and went to my first conference in 2005. Boy did I learn, but I lurked and didn't really make friends. Though I went for the next two years, I didn't join until 2008. That's when I joined a critique group through the organization.

    My conference experience in 2008 was awesome. I got to meet two of my critters and by then I'd met another Arkansas writer who was also a member. For the first time, I had people who get me, were my age (40ish), and wrote inspy. We all went to dinner and had a wonderful time.

    Since then I've made more friends and never feel alone in this quest. I sing the praises of ACFW a lot, but I truly believe that if not for those conferences and my critters, I'd still be questing.

  28. Joylene Butler on January 27, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    >Every time I hear someone say they refuse to get a computer, let alone go online, I'm left feeling sad for them. I have made many online friends who in turn make this lonely life bearable. I can't even imagine going back to those days when I sat at my typewriter and wished, no — longed for someone to talk to who would understand what I was going through.

    These days I'm surrounded by people who understand too well what I'm going for, and I am so very grateful to you all.

  29. Michelle Z. Mackay on January 27, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    >I am thankful for the handful of writer friends I have made through the online community I am in, plus those in my town's writers group.

    It's nice to talk about writing with people who actually get where you're coming from.

  30. L-Plate Author on January 27, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    >I was just talking about this last night. How it was so lonely when I started out years ago and now I have so many online friends, there is always someone there to 'talk' to.
    I am a member of an online group The Novel Racers and have made lots of friends through this, some of them I've met. I have one in particular who I share everything with and I like having that link. She is my inspiration as she is published but she also shares her publishing journey with me. And for me, having her egging me on is really important, a great support.
    Besides that, all the support in the blog world is amazing. I don't know where I'd be without it now.

  31. lynnrush on January 27, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    >Great post. I've made some dear and long time friends online–both writing and non-writing friends.

    Such a great thing. Writing can be lonely, yes, but it doesn't have to be these days (facebook/twitter/etc).

    What's really fun is that after a year or so "hanging out" with my friends on line we actually meet in person at conferences and such.

    Oh man, that's the best!

  32. T. Anne on January 27, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    >Writers, and all others involved in publishing are really great people. The fact most of us are interested in pursuing writing as a lifelong career brings us into a closer sense of community. We are in this for the long haul, and surrounding ourselves with awesome people is the real gift. When my writer friends land agents and contracts, it makes my heart soar as though I've just achieved this myself. I'm so thankful for agents who open up their world's to us. We really are in the same boat regardless of what the publishing waters are like.

  33. Jill Kemerer on January 27, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    >I completely agree. In fact, I watched The Biggest Loser last night where one contestant gleefully winked at another who had fallen below the yellow line, and I was horrified. Some contestants are very inspiring and they're the ones who are generous and help each other.

    If being completely selfish is how to win the game, I'll lose, thank you very much.

  34. Beth on January 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    >Awesome post! I would hate any kind of success that came at the expense of stepping on others to do it. Sure, there are only so many books that will be published each year, but we can cheer each other on to victory and be great sports as we all race for the finish line.

    That's what I love about writing for children, I think. I have never met another writer who didn't encourage and help those around her as she worked toward publication herself.

    I'd add that it was due to encouragement from an editor whom I worked with while I was in the art department of a publisher which caused me to be able to publish my first short story. That was years ago, but I still remember her for her enthusiasm that she could help me become a better writer.

  35. KT on January 27, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    >Loved this post. I agree, especially for those of us who work in professions that involves little human interaction (I'm a freelancer), this is crucial. No one understands why I love Twitter and Facebook so much. But you worded it perfectly. I'm here to make friends.

  36. Dana on January 27, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    >P.S. It's when we are brave enough to be vulnerable is when we grow.

  37. Dana on January 27, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    >I just adore you Rachelle for saying what others, even Christians, sometimes have a hard time expressing.

    My name is Dana. I need friends. Sure, I have a lot. For years I worked a job with very little human interaction. I made a lot of money but didn't realize until later that I NEEDED people in my daily life and it was ok to feel that way. It doesn't mean that I don't have a wonderful relationship with Jesus. As my fiance tells me often, "We are designed to be in pairs."

    I am new to the site and find you all very interesting…especially since I have not ONE writer friend in my life.

    Thank you.

  38. Sharon Kirk Clifton on January 27, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    >What a great post, Rachelle.

    Since I've begun getting serious about my writing, I've definitely made friends. My ACFW critique partners, for example, have become friends. While I cannot claim friendship with agents or editors, yet, through reading important blogs and websites and attending conferences and workshops, I've come to realize that those in the business of representing and publishing books are real, breathing, approachable people with emotions, frustrations, quirks, and lives not terribly unlike the rest of us.

  39. The Scribe on January 27, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    >This is a wonderful encouragement and a challenge in some ways as well. I'm reminded by this post that what I do as a writer is for others, and not just to publish something. (Although, that would be a nice by-product. :D) Thank you for this post.

  40. Kristi Faith on January 27, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Great post and I agree that in the publishing business, friends-if even casual-are soooooooooo helpful.
    I would be LOST without all of the friends I've made through the writing community online. :0)

  41. Nicole Ducleroir on January 27, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    >You have a wonderful site, Rachelle, and congrats on being named by Writer's Digest as one of the best websites for writers!

    My cyber-BFFs are all writers, and I wouldn't have come as far along my journey without them. The support writers are willing to extend astounds and humbles me. I love doing the same for them. I'm new to BlogSpot — and am excited to have already found so many talented writers! — but Writing.com is the place I've called home for two years, and it's that community that has supported and encouraged me the most.

  42. Dara on January 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    >I certainly have made "real" friends because of writing. My critique group is a great example. Sometimes we just have a casual get-togethers where we can relax. It's really nice!

    I've also made tons of cyber friends. I've been blessed to meet a handful of them in person and hope to meet more as time goes by. Writing is a lonely business and it's always great to connect with others who "get" you.

  43. Rebecca Knight on January 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    >I have been so blessed by meeting some wonderful people through Querytracker.net's forums 🙂 and through blogging. The only problem is, we're scattered all over the country/world!

    We follow each other's blogs and email and beta read for one another–it's awesome to have such a great group of people who care about the same things you do.

    The best part about having my blog is meeting cool new people on a regular basis :). Each new commenter that cracks me up, makes my day a little brighter, and gives me the chance to get to know another cool writer/reader friend.

  44. Jill on January 27, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    >I "met" Jody Hedlund through comments we both made on your blog. Now we follow each others and have discovered some things we have in common. That's just one example of relationships I've made through my writing. I think you need to be friendly in any industry, but especially when doing a work that often has us in solitude!

  45. lauradroege on January 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    >I don't know if I would term them "real" friends, but, yes, I've made some colleague-friends on my writng review site. (I think of "real friends" as people I know in person, hang out with, etc. I tend to be wary of people I haven't met or have only met a few times. I'm not going to be open with them like I *might* be with in-person friends; I'm wary with them, too.)

    I wish I were making more friends through my blog, but so far that hasn't happened. Not too many people follow it or even read it (yet) but hopefully that will change!

  46. D. Antone on January 27, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    >I think winning in this industry involves making friends. I don't know that it's possible to get noticed without networking and getting to know people. I know that's one of the main reasons why I blog. I think the process looks something like this:


  47. PatriciaW on January 27, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    >Definitely. I have writing friends I've only met online who had prayed for me, encouraged me, supported me, and given me a swift kick when needed. I'd do the same for them. We remember birthdays and special occasions; we ask about children, parents, and personal struggles. We're definitely friends.

  48. Lauren on January 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    >I actually haven't, but one of my favorite authors, Nicole Baart, has, and it's always fun getting to read her blog posts about spending time with her friends in the publishing community. So, one day, I hope that I can be in that position. One of my former professors is actually an editor now. Does that count…:D

  49. WindyA on January 27, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    >I have absolutely met some amazing people and made wonderful friends through getting to know people, first online, then in real life (the locals anyway).

    It's been an awesome opportunity to learn and grow and honestly, leverage their knowledge against my own. Luckily, they don't mind it so much.

  50. Mira on January 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    >This is a good post – thanks.

    But, for me – honestly, agent blogs are very difficult for me right now. I'm in a graduate program for Social Work. That means I eat, drink, sleep and breathe disparity, power differentials, oppression, discrimination, exploitation and on the opposite side of the coin, social justice and advocacy.

    I don't know if you've ever spent months reading books about disparity and the human suffering it creates, but it's beyond heart-breaking and it makes you really angry and upset.

    So, I go to school and then I come to agent blogs – people I like and respect – and what do I see? Power differential.

    And I think – no. This isn't the battle to take on. But then I feel like if I don't say something, I've betrayed my own sense of integrity.

    I'm wondering if I should just leave for awhile. This conflict is making me nuts – I go for a couple of weeks getting along, and then I crack.

    And then I think – well, why am I writing anyway? Is it just to play a game to get some brass ring? Or is it to speak truth?

    But then I don't want to hurt the agents and editors I like – they didn't create the system. And the system is changing and will probably get along just fine without me and my small little voice. And don't I have other, more important things to focus on?

    I do not know.

    But I will say, there is more to human interaction than either winning or making friends and I'm really grappling with it right now.

    And all of that probably has nothing to do with your post, but I guess I needed to talk about it. So, thanks for giving me the space.

  51. Taymalin on January 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    >I met one of my best friends on an online writer's group. She was halfway across the country. I ended up going to her province for the end of my B.A., and ended up living with her on and off for the 3 years I was there.

  52. Lori Benton on January 27, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    >I don't see other writers as my competition. God is going to promote whomever he promotes. I hope one day that's me. Even if it's not, I want to be part of what he does for and through other writers. Sharing encouragement, being a cheerleader, passing along great research finds on my blog, taking an interest in others journeys, are all ways in which to do that. And I get blessed with some great friendships along the way.

  53. Polly Calicoat on January 27, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    >Great post! It's so easy to feel all alone when you're writing and revising. We need all the friends we can get who are going through the same things you are. Love, love, love my writer friends who help to keep me going.

  54. Melanie Dickerson on January 27, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    >I wouldn't trade the "writer friends" I've made for anything. Sometimes I wonder if I'm spending more time at the computer every day investing in friendships than writing, but oh well! I'm a friendly person. When I die I'd rather be able to say I had more friends than books.

    Speaking of dying,(LOL) last night I watched Bright Star, the movie about John Keats and Fanny Brawn (probably misspelled that) and it was soooooo good.

  55. Courtney Walsh on January 27, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    >I love being home all day and not having to make "small talk" however, if I didn't have the online community I think I would go insane. I have been really wanting to find that group of real-life writers where I just fit in and find the ideas flow and there's a support system. I value all of the writing friends I do have… the only drawback is that they all live so far away!!

    What a good post, Rachelle. I have learned SO much from my friends who are writers and someday I hope I can share that same knowledge with someone else!

  56. REG on January 27, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    >Making friends with other writers is not a threat to my writing. What I have learned from other writers enhances my own writing. We are unique individuals. Everyone brings something to the table.

  57. Roxane B. Salonen on January 27, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    >Rachelle, I recently introduced a friend to the world of blogging, and what surprised her most was the connections. She has been delighted with that aspect of it. How had I missed telling her about that aspect of my online endeavors? Well, I was feeling it, but I hadn't yet clarified the lure. She helped me see it as a newcomer, and you've helped define it further. Yes, I have made real-life friends and connections online. There are negative things about the Internet, but God is using it, as He does all things, to make our worlds more vibrant too. I love that!

  58. Matilda McCloud on January 27, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    >I've made some nice connections through this blog and Nathan's blog. When I rant or feel sorry for myself on my blog, I know some fellow writers might chime in to help me along and make me feel better and I try to do the same on their blogs–we're all going through the same thing.

  59. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought on January 27, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    >I’m here to make friends and I’m here to win. I don’t view others as threats or competition. They are on their road and I’m on mine. I hope to uplift others on this journey. I know I’ve been uplifted! I’ve “met” some wonderful people who’ve inspired me incredibly. It’s true my family doesn’t “get it” like some of the people I’ve connected with do. My online friends have been such an encouragement in my life.

    Thank you for this post, Rachelle.

    The video cracked me up.
    ~ Wendy

  60. Rachel on January 27, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    >I've met two friends from the comment section on your blog–real friends, too, who pray for me and ask me if I'm writing consistently and laugh at my jokes. What a total blessing.

  61. Stokes on January 27, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    >Wow, great blog. I wrote something vaguely similar in my blog yesterday, mostly in response to those who think trashing others (rather than making friends and having humility) will gain them success.

    I've made so many friends simply because we shared a love for writing. It's like you said, sometimes my husband doesn't understand the struggle and stress I endure through writing (just as I don't quite understand his stress as a videographer). Having people around me who understands the writing process is such a relief.

  62. Anonymous on January 27, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    >I am not a reader, but in a similar boat in some ways, as I run a business from home. And a business that a lot of my friends and family don't quite grasp.
    Finding like minded people on blogs, twitter etc has been an absolute mind saver!

  63. claudiajane99 on January 27, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    >Thank you for writing and sharing this piece. It's helpful!

  64. holycamp09 on January 27, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    >I had to comment because I've been following your blog for some time now, gaining insight from your posts. I'm in the publishing industry, working on getting our products to the customers, and I have come to know people in the industry, mostly authors. I've enjoyed getting to know them and glad to call them friends…it makes their books even better for me to know them on some basis. I'm also writing my first book, so it neat to connect with others that have already been published.

  65. KINDRED HEART WRITERS on January 27, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    >Oh, yes! We met at the Florida Christian Writing Conference, we started an online critique group, and we email each other every day. The four of us who live in Florida got together several days ago and got our Ohio gal on Skype. We'll be together at the FCWC in March (our fourth year). And we're looking forward to seeing "alumni" attendees and meeting the first-timers.

    We've had our successes and our disappointments. The joy is in the journey and traveling it with such close friends.


  66. Marla Taviano on January 27, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    >I heart the internet.

  67. Karen on January 27, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    >Well said, Rachelle! I have made many "writing" pals blogging and through conferences. And my critique group gals are some of my dearest friends.

  68. Buffy Andrews on January 27, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    >I don't have a lot of followers of my blog (Hint. Hint. Smiles) but I am blessed by those who have found me and have interacted through their posts. They encourage me on days when I need encouragement and have been a real blessing in my life. Also, I have met people via Twitter and other social networking sites that have enriched my online experience and helped me in so many ways. I can't imagine what being a writer years ago must have been like. With everything at our fingertips, writers are more connected than ever and I think that's a great thing.

  69. Rachel Stark on January 27, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    >I just finished reading a book that offered a great perspective on that idea: Megan Hustad's How to be Useful. Granted, she was paraphrasing another advice-giver whose name is slipping my mind right now. But an entire chapter of her book centers around the idea that you'll go farthest if you can organize a specific group of highly-skilled people (it works best if they're even more skilled than you are) who are willing to work with you on some extracurricular goal.

    I've achieved a lot but, more importantly, also made some of my closest friendships that way — it started with noticing that a transfer student at my college was really good at organizing groups and getting people excited, and getting her involved in recruiting lit mag staff. Next, seeing that one designer knew her stuff more than anyone I'd met before and recruiting her to revamp the magazine. I admired those people initially, knew they could help me and really wanted to learn from them. Ultimately, I think they even managed to learn a little from me. And we definitely became friends for life.

    I'm totally the same — I crave books and know I'm meant to work with them, but I can't possibly be happy if I don't interact with people, too. I love that the industry, especially with all the added bits of it like blogging and tweeting, has made fantastic writers and publishers and agents and everyone in between available to me!

  70. Holly Bodger on January 27, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    >Absolutely! I've met some great writers who help me improve my writing and keep me sane…or insane…hi Marybeth! 🙂 I don't know what I would do without these people.

  71. Marybeth Poppins on January 27, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    >Absolutely. Granted I haven't meant any of them before, but sometimes it's so much easier to talk to my online writer friends about things than some of the friends I talk to every day.

    Writer's get each other. I am blessed to have found a handful of writers that totally get me!

    Great Post!!!

  72. Marty Coleman on January 27, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    >My wife and I wait with baited (sp?) breath for the first 'I am not here to make friends' comment on any reality show. It's always so predictable and such a great example of denial in action.
    My take on it is that the person who says that is the person who CAN'T make friends.
    Notice how they almost never actually win?

  73. Krista Phillips on January 27, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    >I LOVE the writing friends I have made… Writing wouldn't be nearly as fun with out them!

  74. Carolyn V. on January 27, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    >I have made my best friendships from hanging out on blogs and meeting writing people.

    It's funny because a writer friend of mine told me it didn't make me a writer to hang around people who write. I totally disagree. It's the people who write who keep you motivated and inspired.

    I feel a bit sorry for her. But I can't change her mind.

  75. Hardygirl on January 27, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    >I'd feel sorry for my poor husband if I didn't have my online writer friends! I can whine and moan with my cyber-buddies, and they are right there with me.

    I've never felt competitive with anyone in this group because I honestly think we each bring something unique to the world. There's room for all of us.


  76. LorelieLong on January 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    >Considering that I move to follow my husband's job every two to three years, the writing friends I've made through the internet have saved my sanity at times. 🙂

  77. Stephanie L. McGee on January 27, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    >What a beautiful post. I think people in business can sometimes forget that human connection is really what drives all commerce. (Okay, I'm making generalizations.)

    I did start blogging as a way of chronicling my journey and connecting with others who are on the same path. It is hard to find people in your immediate circle who do understand what you do and why you do it. Through blogging I've made connections and friendships that strengthen my resolve and help me to keep going through all the rough patches.

    You absolutely can make deep and lasting friendships through social networking. And I'm blessed all the more for it.

    Thanks for this post.

  78. Kim on January 27, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    >I think I would've quit writing ages ago if it weren't for the friends I've made. My husband has to put a limit on the amount of time I spend with my writers group. He claims I should spend time with the family too. Shame….