07 April 2012

Guest Post by Rachel Wilder - Isolation



Writing in Isolation

It’s a well known fact that writing is a solitary occupation. Isolating even. But some of us are more isolated than others. Like Naomi, I’m pretty much alone in my area. She’s probably a little more isolated than I am though, geography-wise. I do have an ACFW chapter two hours away, but the price of gas makes it incredibly difficult to justify going to the meetings since I’m the only member who writes trade length historical romance.

I joined ACFW in January, 2007. It was such a thrill to be surrounded by so many other people who know what it’s like to argue with the people in your head. And lose. While the online companionship was awesome and I made friends right away, I still felt isolated because I had no other writers to talk to face-to-face. And no other writers who understood and shared my burning desire for European historical settings.

Enter Therese Stenzel in April, 2007. She announced the formation of a sub-group just for those of us who wrote about England and Europe. Sign me up! I was one of the very first members of His Writers (not to be confused with the Denver ACFW chapter of the same name). See, I have this undying obsession with Russian history. I own more non-fiction about Russia than any other subject, though Louisiana in the 1860’s is now running a close second.

Immediately I had a “home”. Every writer in the group understood my frustration with prairie settings and the West, and shared my desire to see setting no longer be a deterrent to making a sale. We all bonded immediately over our shared loves.

We’re not a big group. We don’t have a lot of “rules”. We have a lot of fun together. All online. It’s every writer’s dream for support. We laugh and cry together, brainstorm, ask stupid, crazy, ridiculous questions. Rely on each other’s expertise in a given setting or era, try to figure out the English title system and make contest entries bleed.

But above all else, we’re a band of sisters, of prayer warriors and shoulders to cry on. I’m almost on the other side of the darkest two years of my life, and I never would have survived without my HW sisters. Many of them know the ugly details of what I’ve been through and held me up as I dealt with it all.

We get together at the ACFW conference every year and it’s always a joy. We sit together in classes when we see a fellow member. We cheer over contract news. We celebrate every milestone, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. When I finished my first novel last summer they were some of the first to know. Without their support and encouragement I would not be sitting here writing this blog post, or shopping my manuscript.

Just because you live in an area where there are no writers to fellowship with doesn’t mean you have to remain isolated. Online friendships are real. The group has grown and changed in the five years since it began. We’ve gained members and lost members. But above all, we’re a group of sisters. Naomi and I aren’t the only members geographically isolated. That’s part of what makes our group so wonderful. We get it, on so many levels, how hard it sometimes is to be a writer.


Rachel Wilder A born and bred Southern belle and lifelong resident of Louisiana, Rachel writes historical romance set in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her love of historic fashion and needlework covers these eras.  You can visit Rachel at www.rachelwilder.net

15 comments:

  1. Beautifuily put Rachel! And thank you for all of your contributions to the group...your knowledge and support and prayers.

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  2. Great post RACHEL! It's wonderful to have friends to talk to, whether in person or online. :)

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  3. Wonderful post! So interesting to get an "inside view" of the writer's world. :) ~ Cathy~ ncmom@att.net

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  5. Thank you for being our guest poster today on OTT, RACHEL! What a wonderful article, and it certainly puts an end to the myth that all writers live such a glamorous lifestyle all the time. I'm sure it can be very lonely at times. I am glad that you are coming out of your dark time, victoriously, with the help of your prayer partners. I'm so thankful for mine, too, and have become acquainted with most of them online, but that's ok. For otherwise we probably would never have met, and I would surely have missed out!

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  7. Thanks Rachel for sharing! HisWriters has been. A blessing. To me.

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  8. Wow, Rachel! Well said. And very appropriate to remind us how much we need each other.

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  9. HisWriters is without question one of my favorite online homes! Love you guys!! Especially because I, too, have that problem of no one being close to me. I'm so grateful for the online community!! And love my Louisiana Rachel and my UP Naomi!! It's been so much fun watching both of your journeys.

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  10. Rachel, I so agree with you. As a Canadian, and a person born in Northern Ireland, I often feel isolated as a writer. But I too found a home and a great group of writers in our wonderful HisWriters. It's true, we have become friends as well as writing collegues. Keep up the good work on your novels. I can't wait to read the one you just finished.

    Christine Lindsay, author of Shadowed in Silk

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  11. TORI Chase is the winner of her choice of ebook or pback of Naomi's new release! CONGRATS! HAPPY EASTER!!!

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  12. YAY! Congrats, TORI! Hope you enjoy it!

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  13. It's the same for me except I was wanting to belong to join a book club. I live out in the boonies and there just wasn't anything close enough and economical. Then I found The Book Club Network online about two years ago and it totally changed my book life :) I have met some wonderful people! Especially the ladies here at OTT :)

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  14. ANNE, we are so glad to have met you! I love BCN, too! What boonies do you live in, Anne?

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  15. So sorry I missed this post on Saturday!!! We were out of town and didn't get back until late, but oh, what a wonderful post. I'm so very sorry I missed it.

    It's so neat to see the way other writers and book-lovers find ways to connect with people who share their enthusiasms. Thanks Rachel, for that lovely post! It's helpful to see how other writers struggle with isolation, and how much friendship can mean to one another.

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