People assume romance writers, like me, are up to something

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Tawna Fenske
Oregon romance writer
Believe it or Not
Blog “Don’t pet me, I’m writing”

Being the lone romance writer on a book tour of 28 Oregon authors is an odd experience. If anyone sees you smiling, they assume you’ve been doing something torrid.

They may have a point.

I’ve had a great time being part of the Crazy 8s Author Tour, and I’m stoked to head to Cannon Beach this Saturday for our next tour stop. I couldn’t help noticing a common theme in the speeches given by my fellow authors at our first event last weekend. Many poked fun at themselves for using Facebook to procrastinate book deadlines. Some made reference to Twitter, and during the Q&A portion of the presentation we fielded several audience questions about writers’ groups.

Are we all a bunch of social media addicts with the attention span of a porn addict at a nude beach?

Possibly, but there’s more to it than that.

A few weeks before my agent landed me my three-book deal for romantic comedies, I was laid off from my job in marketing and corporate communications. I spent the next nine months living the dream of being a full-time, stay-at-home writer.

As it turned out, the dream wasn’t nearly as fun as the one where I’m flying naked around a room full of firemen.

Left to stew in my introvert juices, I’d go for days without leaving the house. As my volume of outside stimuli decreased, so did my creativity. During that lonely nine months, fellow writers in the social media realm became my support system, my friends, my tribe.

There’s something powerful about being part of a group of people who share your passions and creative quirks. It’s one thing I love about the work environment at my part-time day job, and something that fascinates me about the instantaneous chemistry that erupts when groups of writers get together.

It’s been said that writing is a solitary profession, but I’ve never believed that. Without other people around to stimulate my brain and offer a sense of belonging, my creative juices shrivel like a skin pencil in an ice bath.

Whether you’re a writer or someone with a slightly more sane profession, do you crave the camaraderie of other like-minded professionals? Do you sometimes have to work to find it? Please share.

And for the record, I probably am up to something torrid.