I have a friend who is a poet. For a long time she was working on her poems, taking workshops and working closely with a mentor. But it wasn’t until she started an MFA program and met other poets in varying stage of development and all about support that she finally said to me “I get it now. I’ve found my tribe.”
As a writer, you do lonely work writing, editing, thinking. No one can help you with most of this. Sure, you get feedback. But incorporating it is another solitary activity. So you have to find your tribe. Fellow writers who “get” your work, your genre, your passion.
Years ago I was at a Malice Domestic conference with a friend. She was in a long line, shipping back a box of books (one of the challenges of conferences is how to get the haul back home). She met Dana Cameron, who suggested (invited) Regina and I to join the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime. As very new, unpublished writers we were nervous, but we went to a meeting. And found our tribe.
Sisters in Crime‘s mission is “to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.” Which they do. And they do so much more.
There is nothing like sitting in a room full of mystery writers learning about craft, or poison, or forensics, or investigation. There is nothing like sharing a passion with other people, and not having to explain it. There is nothing like belonging to an online group (like the magnificent Guppies) who cheer success, congratulate failure (it means you got out there and tried) and offer advice.
If you are a writer, find your tribe. If you are a mystery writer, join Sisters in Crime. (And Mystery Writers of America, though I haven’t made that leap yet). The tribe is waiting to meet you.