This is my fourth post for Speculative Fiction Blogging Week.
Back in 2006 when I was just starting to get serious about my writing I didn’t know anyone else interested in it. I was completely isolated and writing was something I did quietly, without drawing too much attention to myself. I wasn’t hiding it exactly, but I certainly wasn’t putting myself out there.
This changed when I took part in NanoWriMo 2006, where I dutifully posted an introduction message in the NZ forums and met a bunch of like minded individuals. When Kerryn asked if anyone was interested in forming some kind of group, I jumped at the chance and not long after Kiwiwriters.org was created.
Through the site I have met a wide range of writers – published, unpublished, those hoping to make a career out of it, and those who just write for fun – and while some of those connections have faded over time, others have blossomed. I can say that I’ve gained several good writer friends from there who give some great feedback and are always there to encourage me when I’m having a down moment.
One person who has greatly influenced me has been Ripley Patton, who I met through Kiwi Writers. She’s has many wonderful short stories published already, and was the driving force behind the creation of SpecFicNZ. It’s been inspiring getting to know her, and being part of the process. I feel so lucky to be involved, and amazed at all the connections I’ve made in just a few years.
The thing is, no matter how new you are to this writing thing, no matter how small fry you might think you are, the other writers in New Zealand? The ones who are two or three steps (or a whole kilometre) in front of you? They are awesome. This has been my experience anyway. I’ve not once had negative contact with a writer who was more advanced in their career. These people are friendly, and passionate and happy to communicate with you.
Being a writer can be lonely at times, but the community of spec-fic writers in New Zealand is growing, and it’s a wonderful thing to be part of. No matter what stage you are at, you’ll find someone willing to give you feedback, to encourage or to commiserate with you. You don’t have to feel isolated any more. No matter where you are in the country, you’re still one of us. If you haven’t reached out yet, and you want to, then do it! I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
p.s Also, this really made me smile today. Go, the Jedi!