• Katharen Martin

Chapter Three - Group-ish

If we jump through the years to the here and now, we’ll find purchase in a horrendous magical place called: Kate’s Writing Life. It’s fraught with depression, anxiety, tears of anger/joy/the desire for junk food, and is fueled by the undying need to tell a story…and the internet.

One is, in fact, not the loneliest number when you have said internet. I’m not talking about the sweeping arm of social media as you probably know it. I’m talking chat groups, like Yahoo! Messenger or AOL chat rooms back in the day (full of spambots and odd people looking for e-booty…imagine that).

In today’s internet, there’s a whole host (haha, get it?) of social media options. You have Facebook—which I’ll call the long (distance) branch of social media, where you learn things about relatives (I mean those distant relatives you forget exist until they “Friend” you) you were better off not knowing (like every branch of their political alignment, or public questions about a mysterious growth…). There’s the crazy cousin Twitter, where it’s like a game of Whose Line Is It Anyway? where everyone is toxic, and the points don’t matter! And then there’s the pretties: Instagram that shows you everything beautiful and plastic, and Pinterest which is the biggest (bestest) time suck on internet planet. These branches make up the family tree of communication, commercialization and graticulation of a large (largest?) section of authors—the self-publishers.

This is where I bow and hope to crack my forehead on something solid on the way down because that’s how it feels to be in the self-publish world much of the time.

You have the ignorers, the frenemies, the drama, the people that “like” your work but never share/retweet/actually look at it, the liars (“sure, I’ve read your book…what’s it about again?” or “whaaat, I never said that…what do you mean she has screenshots?”), the genre cliques, the people who step on the lesser-thans to boost themselves up (because selfishness is the key to success and the pursuit of happiness didn’t you know?), the sharer of all things personal on a business platform, and the drama,

the drama,

the drama.

Like a plague, the social media blight squishes its way between too many cat pictures, and unedited book previews (surely not something I’ve done, haha) until it pools in a dark, little puddle, waiting for you to accidentally step in it. And oh man, in this day and age? You’re going to step in it. It’ll infect you, but if you’re a lucky little writer…you’ll have found a saving grace amongst the rabble:

A supportive writing group.

That’s right, people, it’s not a myth! There, in the dark reaches of the internet (in the cherished light of a chat program called Discord) there are bountiful places where feedback runs smoothly, and debates are settled with “let’s agree to disagree.” Bonds are created, stories are shared, and…when you think it’s going great…

It dies under the intensely personal heat of a thousand suns.

At least, that’s what happened to the one I was a part of.

But fear not, my friend, there’s a silver lining—a protective dome of shade, if you will—to losing a group of like-minded individuals to the tyranny of selfish administrators…

My silver is named Mirren Cates, Paranormal Romance (BDSM Erotica, ooh-la-la) soon-to-be-author, and feedbacker extraordinaire. I’ve never had a driving force quite like her in my life who motivates, lifts, and shares a fiery passion for stories much like my own. And though we write different genres (let’s face the facts people, I’m too shy to function, much less do the romance thing), she makes me feel like I’m not alone on this absolutely insane quest to stand out from the herd.

And she makes me laugh.

In this lonely writer world, she’s a bright, shiny star that made losing a group worth finding a friend.

And now we have our own group!

Thus bringing us back to Kate’s Writing Life, where she (I, you know, since Kate is me) is no longer stuck in a circular pattern, chasing her own tail. Where it’s still fraught with the negatives, there are now drops of positives, coming together to form a new puddle of self-confidence.

A puddle that I fully plan to stomp in with both feet and a snorkel.

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