Today I get to introduce the talented Cathy Perkins. Cathy is blogging today about something near to my heart! Cathy is also very patient and understanding as I kinda dropped the ball on this one. Without further ado, here's Cathy.
Thanks Shawna, for inviting me to participate in your month of Thanksgiving. I’ve enjoyed all the stories. As I read personal memories and met wonderful characters, I've realized how much I have to be grateful for: family and friends; health; veterans of current and historic wars; and for all of its problems, I'm grateful that I live in America. But today, I'd like to focus on something the Carina Press authors share – the writing community.
The dictionary defines community as a social group whose members reside in a specific location, share government, and often have a common cultural and historic heritage. But for me, community is about people – people who share more than a location or heritage; people who share a passion.
My community includes both the critique partner I meet at the library each week and writers across the country—and the world—who I’ve met through this shared passion. Maybe because writers share the struggle to create and publish our work, we understand each other’s highs and lows: the triumph of recognition, the pain of rejection, the satisfaction of a well-written chapter, and the insecurity of staring at a white page. We encourage and support when someone wants to talk about their story – and never roll our eyes or call what we're doing our "hobby".
As a group, I’ve found writers are incredibly generous with their time and talent, as well as their financial resources. There are authors such as Brenda Novak, who create renown fundraising auctions for juvenile diabetes, as well as ones such as fabulous Carina author Julie Rowe, who donated 15% of her royalties from her recent novel to the same charity. Both Brenda and Julie are wonderful examples of people who use their talent and position for the good of the greater community.
Sharing can also occur closer to home. Every year at the Emerald City conference, Cherry Adair throws down the Finish The Damn Book challenge - create a story from original idea to squeaky clean, polished manuscript. In addition to periodic Pep Talks, Cherry also generously offers financial rewards. This year, she raised the bar by convincing agents and editors to review partial manuscripts. Cherry has her own writing, her own family and friends, but she takes time to reach out to the writers behind her and help them along.
I barely know where to begin expressing my personal gratitude. So many people have helped and encouraged me along my path to publication—and the Carina authors generously offer explanations and advice to confused debut authors like me.
So the challenge became for me to find ways to give back to the writing community. I volunteer as a chapter officer and a coordinator for the Daphne du Maurier contest, but I think I’ve drawn the most pleasure from teaching and watching my critique partner grows from a puddle of possibility to published author.
Whether it’s a seat at the dinner table or the metaphoric place at the table of publishing, reach out and make the offer.
I have several questions for you today:
How do you define your writing community?
Are there individuals who are your role models?
What are you doing to give back and say thanks to that community?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here’s hoping you find your place at the table and invite a new friend to share it with you.