The Human Factor

As you know, I don't get out much. I've been concentrating on my day job and my writing deadlines. Meanwhile, my social life is deadsville. I actually handle being a hermit quite well. Chatting here and blog hopping a bit keeps me from talking to myself or imaginary people (not counting my characters, of course.) However, lately I wrestled with an odd feeling that finally pegged as lonliness. I blogged about that a bit last week. The need for human contact.

I'm still on a tight deadline for revisions to a book AND a synopsis for another book, but I convinced myself that getting out and actually interacting would energize me and somehow make those revisions easier. I picked up the phone--twice!--and chatted with two entertainer girlfriends. We're trying to coordinate a breakfast date next week. I've emailed with another dear friend (Hi, Shelly!) and we're trying to coordinate a get-together, too. I emailed my movie buddy, Vincent. We're shooting to see ALL THE KINGS MEN at the end of this month.

I also contacted an author friend, Terri Brisbin (who writes for Harlequin Historicals). She lives about 90 minutes from me. Last night we met midway for dinner. We talked shop for three hours!! I think the waiter was ready to toss us out. LOL I can't tell you how fabulous it was to meet with a fellow writer and talk face-to-face. We vented, we gossiped, we shared ideas, and talked about current and future writing projects. There's nothing worse than trying to talk shop with someone not in the biz and watching their eyes glaze over. Last night, I'm quite sure Terri and I looked like sparkley-eyed, grinning idiots because... we got each other! And suddenly... my revisions, my tight deadlines, my sales-ranking, none of that seemed overwhelming or daunting. Because I was getting feedback from someone facing the very same things.

I used to get this kind of feedback and connection when I attended my monthly local RWA chapter meetings. It was only one day a month, but it was three concentrated hours of mixing with thirty or fifty fellow writers. It was a much needed fix and got me through for several years. Unfortunately, since taking the job at the library, I haven't been able to attend the NJRW meetings. Direct 'date' conflict, plus the meeting is two hours away, one way. It's just been impossible. Except for a wonderful brunch and chat with Roni Denholtz last winter, and rooming with Mary Stella at the RT Convention last spring, I've been out of physical touch with my fellow NJ writers for more than a year. Last night reminded me of why I need that fix. I'm hoping I can at least meet up with Terri once in awhile. I'm planning on it.

Meanwhile, I also scheduled a weekend writers retreat with my former writing partner, best bud, Cyndi Valero. We did this last year and had a BLAST! Two days of brainstorming on each other's stories. She lives three hours away, but again we're meeting midway. We already booked a room. I can't wait!

If you're a work-a-holic like me, or just overwhelmed with life in general, make it a priority to connect with someone who 'gets you'. Someone who is passionate about your work or your hobby, whatever it is that drives you and/or brings you joy. Not an email, not a phone call. An in-person meeting. Make a date. Do it. Today. A two hour meeting of the souls and minds will engergize you for weeks.


Bethany said…
Agreed.... 100% And what better way to motivate you to keep doing what you love! ;-)
I'm about to move to the middle of nowhere. Actually, I'll have to drive about seven miles to REACH the middle of no-where. I'm a little concerned about lack of author-buddy input. I guess I'll have to make a lot of road trips.
Gabriele C. said…
Lol, I have a castle in walking distance, a collection of Medieaval half timebered houses at my backdoor, several other castles and old churches less than half an hours drive away, plus a Roman base camp, a Neolithic hill fort and some dinosaur footsteps, but there's no writer I know anywhere around. ;)
Jordan Summers said…
I wish there was someone like that nearby me. :(
Maureen said…
I am glad i have a hubby that insists on date night every friday night. It would probably be the only way i get out for adult company.

I get to be amongst fellow writers once a year at the NJRW conference. This year My critique partners are attending from Virginia and Indiana too, then spending an extra day with me, covorting around NYC.

I have yet to make any real ties with NJ writers since i just got my act together and joined RWA. I am waiting for my membership # so I can join NJRW officially. Hopefully i will meet a few writers that dwell around my area.
Beth Ciotta said…
Bethany, I'm still floating. How crazy is that? :)

Toni, even if you only make plans and meet up with someone midway between wherever and the boonies, at least it'll be a zap. A zap is better than zip LOL
Beth Ciotta said…
Gabriele, are you TRYING to make me envious. *sigh* Okay Bummer that there's no nearby writer, but all that ATMOSPHERE! *double sigh*

Aww, Jordon. I'd meet you halfway, except we live on different coasts! Where's your local chapter meet btw? Is it close? Do you attend?
Beth Ciotta said…
Jeesh. Misspelled JORDAN'S mane before. Sorry, my friend!

Date night every friday. You go, Maureen! As to NJRW, I'm not sure where you're located, but there are a lot of members in the Northern Jersey area. Not so many in Southern NJ where I am. That's great about your critique partners. Have a great time at the conference!
Roni said…
Beth, it is so important to connect with our friends, esp. our writing friends. I had afun when we had brunch! Will you at least be at the NJ conference? It's always so energizing to attend!
Oh yes, I agree. I'm going to the NJ conference and so looking forward to it because I've had to miss the VRW's meetings lately.

Great motivations.
Beth Ciotta said…
Roni and Mechele, I can't swing te NJRW Conference this year. Waaah! So sorry I'll miss seing you and several other writing friends. Have a great time. The NJRW Con is the best!

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