By Lynn McPherson
Some say writing is a lonely profession. There is an assumption authors sit solo in a quiet room day after day, typing away on a computer as the rest of the world carries on around them. There are days I’ve felt like this—after a long stretch of typing, getting up and walking outside, my eyes squinting at the bright sunlight coming down from above. Writers need a space where they are not distracted and can focus on transferring their thoughts into words.
Outside of writing time, however, I would argue that being involved with the greater community is a valuable and important part of being an author. We no longer have to toil alone in a dark corner lit only by the flame of a small candlelight. With the connectivity of the world today, it is almost essential to get outside of one’s comfort zone and interact with others. I’m not talking about random conversations at your local coffee shop—I mean joining established groups who have dedicated themselves to helping authors connect. There are several groups like this. I will highlight a few that have helped me build my community of support and fostered relationships that have become an important part of my life.
First of all, there is Sisters In Crime. SinC is an international network made up of thousands of authors, readers, and associated professionals from around the globe. It was founded in the mid-eighties. Since then, they have never lost focus on their mission, “to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers.” They have been instrumental in helping to develop many authors careers through their network of mentoring, online and local chapter communities, as well as education and promotion.
There is also Crime Writers of Canada (CWC), akin to groups such as Mystery Writers of America and The Crime Writers’ Association in the UK. I am the Toronto representative for CWC and have had many friendships develop as a result of my participation in the group. The mission is “to promote crime writing in Canada and to raise the profile of the genre’s established and aspiring authors.” Through my time as a member, I have made valuable connections and had a lot of fun.
I would encourage writers at any stage of their career to reach out to their peers. It is a great way to meet like-minded people and throw about ideas about the industry, their career, and their work-in-progress, too. Who else are you going to find with so much enthusiasm when listening to ideas about how to kill off a fictional character?
There is so much fun to be had and always something to learn. Go ahead and see what you can find. The writing community is there for you!
Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls' Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.