Monday, August 3, 2015

Virtually Satisfying and then Some

Photo credit: Gwen Moran
Last evening, I went to a party. It was a beautiful night to celebrate a beautiful victory, and to top it all off, I met one of my Facebook friends.

Sounds silly, I know, but we writers have plenty of colleagues we've met only online. In my case, there was a real-world connection (mutual real-world friends), but in many cases, there isn't. Virtual colleagues meet online and cultivate relationships there as well.

Writing is a great gig, and for many writers, it's not only all we want to do, it's all we've ever wanted to do. But it's a solo gig, and one that non-writers don't fully understand. Conferences offer opportunities for face-to-face meetings with kindred spirits, but these come all too infrequently. As imperfect a medium as it may be, Facebook helps close that gap.

Don't get me wrong. My real-world friends are great supporters of my writing, and I appreciate them tremendously. But those colleagues that people engaged in other professions meet at the office? Writers don't have them. We're the only ones in our offices. Mostly, it's better that way, because it's the only way things get done.

But sometimes, we need to bounce an idea off someone who understands the industry. Or ask a question. Or commiserate over the unfairness of celebrity authors who can't actually write or the insurmountability of blank pages and rough drafts. Maybe even get out of our own little worlds and see what life's like.

That's where our virtual colleagues come in.

And it's pretty cool when Facebook friends turn out to be even better in the real world than in the virtual world. Last night, my virtual-turned-real-world colleague and I got to talk about writing in real time in the real world. Our daughters teamed up to play a mean game of ladder ball and together, we all celebrated a young lady's triumph over cancer. All in all, a great night.

Score one for the real world.

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