Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Building My Circle of Friends

I have a Magic Circle of writing friends. I love them all for what they bring to the table of my life. Each woman represents a different take on writing, a different genre, a different approach and a different style. I go to them with my ideas, my pages, my contest entries and my contest results. I feel very fortunate to have met each woman in my Magic Circle. And best of all, the circle is growing. I've made several new friends in the south and have been fortunate to find a few brave souls to read my pages, vet my story ideas, encourage me during low times, and share in my victories.

Why? I hope it's because I'm practicing the art of civility and acting like a writing hostess in my corner of the world.

I started off as a lone writer. Then I met my first CPs, K & S. They "vetted" my writing and invited me to join their critique group. I worked with them for over a year, meeting once a week, to hash out the pages we'd sent to each other. Knowing these ladies improved my writing tremendously. But more so, knowing these ladies improved the quality of my life. They are my friends, my sister writers and my mentors. They are very important to me.

And I was very sad when I had to say goodbye to them and move to Alabama. We all floundered that year. I with no one really to connect with even for a cup of coffee and they with their various life hijacking issues. But we kept up our contact via phone calls and emails. Together we charted new courses and plans for our writing future. And we've seen various levels of success, celebrating the victories of our CPs as part of the joy. One is published in middle grade fiction and has a YA novel out  on full requests! The other is a blasting through the contests with wins and finaling entries in prestigious contests for unpublished writers, including this year's 2010 Golden Heart. I am so pleased for them.

I got lucky in Alabama. I have great writing chapters, Southern Magic and Heart of Dixie to start and, after I went to Moonlight and Magnolias, Georgia Romance Writers of America was added to my list of support chapters. I also met another amazing woman who became a friend and a critique partner. We'd meet in Birmingham, talk on the phone, share pages, help vet pages and help grow each other up in the writing industry. This CP has read the drek of the drek of my pages with patience and grace. I am so fortunate to have met her. She's dedicated and persistent in pursuing the goals we all have as writers.

But darned it all, she moved! And where did she move to? Yup, to my old stomping grounds in Virginia. Thank goodness I have email, a cell phone and the Internet. We continue to schlep through the writing process together. But as a Writing Hostess in my corner of the world, I want to introduce her to K&S. After all, they are fabulous and wonderful. They might be around when my CP has a victory to celebrate or a rejection to moan about. Today I get to fulfill my desire to connect her to my VA CPs and friends.

I can't wait. Although it is a bit sad that I am going to miss out on all those stolen latte moments, not to mention a bit of alcohol in the evenings, I am happy I have this opportunity to bring them together.

How are you welcoming writers and people into your magic circles?


MaryC said...

What a lovely post and outlook, Christine. I applaud you for your writing but even more so for the person you are and continue to strive to be.

I have to admit I envy you the writing partners you have. My best CP moved away (ironically, to Virginia) a number of years ago and another quit writing.

I've been so caught up in schoolwork that I haven't really worked at developing new connections but you're inspiring me. Thanks for the blog. I hope you and your CPs have a lovely meeting today. I know you'll be with them in spirit at those future meetings.

Talli Roland said...

I love the phrase magic circle! I find I'm more often the one being welcomed in. Writers are so helpful and friendly - I'm always pleasantly surprised!

Christine said...

Hi MaryC-it is hard to write without some kind of feedback from another writer who is as dedicated as you to the goals you want to achieve. I managed alone, but it was easier and faster to get there when I found K & S--since then, I've really been blessed. Along with my AL main CP, I have also found some amazing writer friends (or just plain friends gosh!) who bring so much to my writing journey. I think the trick is to keep vetting -- keep putting yourself out there tip by tippy toe. You will find someone. I really have an expanding circle. I may not send the serious drek to anyone but my main CP/s, but my other friends do help me nail down plot and story ideas. And it's just nice to share the ups and downs with them. They get why I'm doing this to myself LOL.

Christine said...

Hi Talli: I wish I could take credit for the phrase MAGIC CIRCLE. I first learned it during an business etiquette program the Heart of Dixie writing chapter held for us in preparation for the National Conference this year. The lady who came taught us so much more than what fork goes where and how to deal with a dirty napkin. She taught us to be hostesses in our corners of the world, wherever we are. She was very gracious and kind. A true example of southern gentility and kindness.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Christine: You have been a gem in my writing journey. Thanks for such kind words, and for introducing me to your friends. No matter where we live, the wonder of technology will keep us in your circle.

It was great to see you again today. Can't wait for Orlando!

M.V.Freeman said...


I so very much agree! All those whom I have met are gifts to me. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

May you always keep finding gems!

Hugs to you! And here's celebrating your circle!

Christine said...

Gwen, that was so fun today. I enjoyed our time in Greenbrier with K & S. You are a true blessing and I can't wait till Orlando!! Oh, btw, I will have more drek for you to wade through afterward... ;-)

Christine said...

Mary, you know you are one of my most special friends in so many ways. Actually, I can't wait to intro you to my VA friends. I am crossing fingers and toes that S will come to M&M--you are a diamond to me!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I envy you your magic circle. May your publishing dreams soon come true, Roland

Christine said...

Hi Roland:
Thank you for your kind words. I am very fortunate to know so many wonderful people in the writing world, both virtual and actual. I'm looking forward to our annual conference this summer--I'll get to put faces with more names.

I popped over to your blog. I like it a lot!

Jean Hovey said...

We are lucky to have you in Alabama! You enrich us.

Sharon Wray said...

What a beautiful post, Christine. I still seems strange to get together with K and not have you with us. I miss you and am just grateful for email, cell phones, and writing conferences.
I'm so glad we got to spend some time together this week!

Christine said...

Hi Jean--thank you for your kind words. I was very fortunate to find you all in AL. I am enjoying getting to know all my new writing friends.

Christine said...

Hi Sharon! I am so glad you popped in to say hello. And yes, it does feel strange not to get together with you all for coffees or wine (whining or celebrating) at the BoneFish or one of our homes. Thank you for hosting our luncheon and for introducing me to my first non wine drink that I love :-)