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Hanging out with writers

April 16, 2013

Warning: This post contains personal judgement calls by the author. The information in this post should in no way be considered an endorsement by Florida Writers Association, its management, members, associates, the Queen of England, parents, students, or honored guests.

I went to a book release party the other day for the first time ever. It was a pretty cool experience. Julie Compton, who has been a great friend to the Florida Writers Association and its membership–not to mention an enormously generous writer–held her release party at a unique bar called The Imperial in downtown Sanford. Sanford’s probably best known for being where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, but the town has a vibrant downtown, filled with unique stores and restaurants. Downtown also has free wifi, so you can shop, eat, drink, and surf all at the same time.

The setting was fantastic. The Imperial is a furniture store during the day and a bar in the evenings. If you like the chair you sat in or the table you sat at, you can come back the next day and buy it. The furniture’s all one-of-a-kind, as is the bar.

The Imperial was filled with people, including many people I didn’t know who were friends or family of the author. But some of them I did know because like Julie and like me, they are writers. Jamie Morris was there, she of the magnificent workshops. Jill Yamnitz, an FWA board member was also there, as was Elaine Person, along with other people I’ve met at conferences and workshops.

It was a great joy to see and talk with all these people. And it was a bigger joy to watch Julie get to have a moment in the spotlight after she toiled to complete and publish her book.

Attending an event like this is important, particularly if you’re climbing the never-ending ladder to publication and success. You get a chance to hang with people who’re doing what you do–and see that success is possible. You get to talk with people, listen to their struggles and their individual triumphs. While your wife, husband, best friend, or co-worker might be your biggest fan, no one can understand the process and its pitfalls like another writer.

I happened to run into someone whose story foundation was very similar to mine. She has my card and I hope she uses it. It would be great to hook up with her.

Having a writing partner is a big step forward in success. But just creating a network of people you know and can talk to is also important.

Don’t pass up the opportunity.

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