Writing a scene may be a solitary sport, but the creation of a written work is ultimately social. All of us writers have something to say and something to explore about what it means to be alive. Our success as authors hinges upon our ability to perceive, learn, and communicate with others.
So much of my writing inspiration, motivation, and quality control comes from the powerful charms of my Fairy Godsisters, women who challenge and support me in various ways--directly or from afar. Most of them are people I know in flesh and blood real life; others are virtual connections that I've made with the writers who generously share their journeys online.
For the next few months, I'll highlight some of the women who inspire, support, or challenge me as a writer. This month's duo are women I've only "met" online, who have already started along paths I hope to take one day, who kindly hold their lanterns of internet sharing to light the way for those of us just entering the woods.
Kindred Spirits of the InternetMichelle D. Argyle when she co-hosted a blog called The Literary Lab years ago. Michelle is a sweet, thoughtful, and emotionally complex woman who shares many personal and lifestyle traits with me--she's an introvert, a mom of one high-intensity girl, wife of a sexy nerd sword-wielder, and lover of fairy tales and folklore. I fell in love with her fairy tale-inspired novel Cinders a few years back and participated in several fun charity projects and contests that she organized online.
Michelle is incredibly open with sharing the ups and downs of her writing journey, between those quiet breaks that we introverts need to take once in a while. Michelle is a multi-talented and prolific author who has written in many genres, designs book covers, participates in many writers' and authors' events, and has published books herself and through a small press. Last I heard, she was considering seeking an agent for her next book. (Do it, Michelle!)
Follow Michelle if you are an introverted or shy writer who needs a vicarious shot of confidence--watching Michelle take risks, succeed, and overcome struggles has helped build my own confidence as a writer--and has convinced me that building a career in this field will be so much more possible once my little lady starts full-time school!
Mary McMyneMary McMyne when she won a Sustainable Arts Promise Foundation award in 2013. I had written up an application for the same award, to fund a trip to Germany and central Europe to do research for a medieval fantasy novel based in fairy tale. But I didn't end up submitting the application, because I decided that the logistical and emotional hardships of leaving the country without my family would be too difficult that year, even if I received the funds to go. Also, I thought to myself, my idea probably wouldn't win anyway.
Lo and behold! When the contest ended, I made the eerie discovery that a writer-doppelganger of mine had won! Mary is a fellow resident of Michigan, who got married just days apart from me, the same year, and had a baby girl the same year that I did. She won the award for a very similar proposal--to write a novel based on a fairy tale, set in medieval Germany--and went on damn near the exact same trip I had almost applied to take. I scrolled through her photos of medieval German towns and forests in wonderment.
Friends asked me, "Are you jealous?" But that reaction had never occurred to me, firstly because I had decided not to submit the application because I wouldn't have gone anyway; secondly, because I doubt my very similar proposal would have won, Mary being an established, professional writer; and thirdly, because Mary's win gave me such validation that my novel's genre and setting are, in fact, worthy of interest! Better still, I've discovered a new author and virtual kindred spirit to follow as she walks the path ahead of me.
Follow Mary if you are as excited as I am for the release of her medieval fairy tale novel, The Book of Gothel!