I've heard people say that writing is a solitary pursuit. You do it in front of a computer or notebook for hours at a time, you don't talk to anyone except the imaginary voices in your head, and you don't let anyone read what you've written until its done.
Hello, that sounds like most ordinary 9-5 jobs!
But while all of that is true, writing isn't actually all that solitary. Or it doesn't have to be.
This weekend I spent a lot of time with my author friends around town. We hobknobbed about the national RWA meeting and what changes we wanted to see in our own local RWA chapter. We traded editing and writing techniques.
Another friend was having trouble getting a character to be more sympathetic to readers and we talked about it until she was able to find the missing ingredients. Another friend helped me build a website, here, which is so important for every author these days. And Mr. SM helped me find how one story I'm writing, The Navy's Ghost, fit into the paranormal world I've created for all my other stories.
Writing might be a solitary pursuit when you're actually doing it, but the stories come out stronger and better when you can connect with other writers and people who give you a different perspective. Without the help of all these friends (CR Moss, Shannan Albright, RM Sotera, Natascha McIntyre, Beverly Preston, Mr. SM), my stories wouldn't be nearly as good or ready to show to the world.
Having other authors as friends also allows you to broaden your understanding of the trade and craft of writing. They have experience you don't and you can learn from their mistakes and successes. You can also meet more professionals within the publishing world. The more people you know who are successful in this world, the better for you!
I've received invaluable help and advice from my author friends. If you're an aspiring writer, don't hide yourself away from everyone. The most interesting writing out there is always about people, and the more people you know and learn from, the better your writing will be. Good luck!