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Why it's Hard to Build a Community (and Why you Should Keep Trying)

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The Curious Cat Blog is all about writing, for writers, by a writer.


Why it's Hard to Build a Community (and Why you Should Keep Trying)

Carina Sitkus

Although it's painfully embarrassing to admit this, I was inspired by a piece of advice I heard on the show Gossip Girl. 

Without harping on that fact, I'll share the actual dialogue. It's between a father and his son, a writer who is struggling not to feel like a failure after his book falls off the bestseller lists.

The Son (a writer): My book is a failure, dad. I'm, I'm a failure.

The Dad (a former rock star): You're not a failure. When I started touring with Lincoln Hawk, we didn't even have a... 

Son: ..a bus, a roadie, an amp that didn't create massive feedback. I know. I've heard this more than once.

Dad: Yeah, but what you don't know about this tour is how many times we played for a handful of people. In Marfa, Texas, our entire audience was a bartender. But that bartender- he spoke to his friends, and they told their friends, and soon we were selling out. It just takes one person to connect with your art who feels like you directly communicated with them to start a groundswell. But you can't connect with that person unless you show up.

It is insanely hard to be a writer. After you actually go through the gut-wrenching, hair-pulling, nail-biting process of writing something (and polishing that something), next comes the work of building a community of people who care about reading your work. 

That part isn't any easier. Believe me: you are not alone if you're reading this and feeling like you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  On most days it feels like I'm writing for a black hole.  

But that piece of advice is dead-on. If you want a second source that's not also Gossip Girl, check out this piece from the Aspen Institute, "8 Authors on the Creative Life and the Craft of Writing."

Author Julia Glass says:

I think the important thing to remember is it just takes one person... Yes, you’re going to have other disappointments, whether they’re bad reviews or more rejections, but that first break means a lot... I also think it’s really important to remember — and I know this firsthand — that there are story editors, book editors, and agents out there that live to find the writer that nobody else has read and to publish that writer and to say, ‘That’s my writer. I found that writer.

So show up, curious cats. It just takes one person to start that groundswell. 

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