I’ve got a confession: I’ve gone tribal.
Nah, not that kind of tribal: I’m still living here in Central NJ sans headdress, feathers or large spear (though I did throw javelin back in high school), and the last baobab tree I saw was actually in the pages of Le Petit Prince. I simply mean that I’ve found my tribe(s).
What do I mean by “tribe”? Well, it’s an interesting thing. Because I currently freelance write/edit/proofread from home, and have done so for more than a decade now, I crave human interaction more than the average bear. I say interesting because I used to be just the opposite. I’d get home from work and simply want to hibernate–no phone calls, no nights out, no more people!
But then I became a work-from-home/stay-at-home mom and suddenly I needed grown-ups in my life. Anybody who didn’t view Cheerios as a food group and diapers as head coverings would have done fine, although I did find other wonderful moms to hang out with while our children ran amuck and resisted our attempts to teach them the concepts of sharing and chewing with their mouths closed.
And then I–me, the one who professes to hate people in general and only like a few specifically (You’re included in the latter, of course. Disregard what people may tell you: I not only possess some level of tact, but also occasionally know how to use it.)–well, I went and got involved in direct sales and not only found that I was great in it, but I also found a great group of chocolatier friends at the same time. (Yes, I said chocolate. Stay with me.)
In a concerted effort to get my life back onto the writer’s path, I gave up the chocolate selling job, knowing that I’d likely lose my friends in the business too. After all, many friendships are based on common threads and chocolate home parties (and bitching about chocolate home parties) was ours.
But, again, I’m a social creature and I soon became part of a local Outlander Book group, the members of which appreciate not just the Diana Gabaldon books, but also reading, history and all things Scottish. I’ll write about Scotland, and possibly Outlander, in another post, but suffice it to say I love this group.
I don’t remember how it came about, but one of the Outlander group members is a writer (You are, Wendy! You write; therefore, you are.) and introduced me to a women writer’s Facebook page where I became surrounded by other writers in all stages of their writing lives. It was frightening and invigorating and inspiring all at once!
And then I finally started this blog and began reading other blogs and communicating with their authors and between that and some group message discussion, I realized I’d been gathered into a little writing tribe. A tribe of people who understood both the painful process of writing and the daily internal pep talk necessary just to be able to call oneself a writer out loud.
I’ve been writing for decades now, but only lately have I read back my work and still liked it in the light of day. That in itself is a huge achievement for the critic and editor inside of me. But it isn’t just me: It’s my writing tribe and their words of motivation (write the f**king novel, Rachel), inspiration and understanding. It’s their generosity in critiquing my stuff even in the midst of trying to work on their own. It’s their thoughtful recommendation of a tweak to a line of poetry that made it infinitely better. And really, it’s the fact that it really does take a village sometimes, and I’ve got a great tribe at my back.
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