Ever had "one of those" days? I have been researching a fiction novel for about two weeks now. My husband came in the other day and asked me how the book was coming. I'm thinking 'great, he actually does care' so I tell him I am still researching it but I have found lots of useful information. Feeling kind of proud of myself (I've been working on this real hard) I await his response and then I hear "I thought you would be almost finished writing it by now as much time as you have been spending on it."
At that moment I was wondering why--why I write; why I try; why I listen to him! Little things like this happen to many of us on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Where does a writer turn when he/she gets no support on the homefront? The internet of course!
My husband is not a writer and he has no idea about what is involved with researching a non-fiction novel. Therefore, I feel I must find support elsewhere. That support comes from other writers. I have found that support from the friends I have made on the Rest Stop Writers' Forum. If you are a writer you can find other writers to network with; others who understand what you are dealing with and they need your support as well. This is a great way to share the knowledge you have with other writers and receive their advice on whatever problems you might be experiencing.
Discussion groups/lists are available to writers. This is usually an e-mail type forum where you are part of a list. Messages are sent and received by everyone subscribed to the list. One such list is email@example.com and this list is open to all genres of writing, including poetry. (The link is the title of their webpage and not an e-mail addy, it will take you to their website.) This type of discussion group you post your work or the URL (with this particular site, they request a URL but will create that for you if you have no experience with webpages) your work appears on and you receive feedback from the other members of the group. This is generally a two-way process and you are expected to give feedback on items posted by other members as well. There are many such groups available, some are genre specific, and I encourage you to find one that is right for you. If you aren't happy with one group, don't despair, find another.
The Internet has literally hundreds of writing forums. A forum is a site on the web which is interactive. Generally you must be a member and this is usually free, simply requiring a short registration process. I have already mentioned the Rest Stop; that is the forum I frequent. However, there are many more forums on Delphi alone; some of which are genre specific. This type of discussion group is web-based and you post on a message board. There is also an e-mail notification which sends you a short message whenever you have received a response to something you posted. Once again, I encourage you to find one which is right for you or you may join several.
Message board are another option offered to writers. An example of this can be found at Playwrights Cafe or The Mystery Writers' Forum. These boards offer a different type of discussion and are often referred to as BBC boards. While these are still interactive, I feel they are inferior to the afore-mentioned discussion groups. They seem to be more sterile with less personality to the messages. You are likely to find messages on any and every topic on these boards including MLM marketing scams. These boards don't appear to be as closely monitored for junk messages. Please note: the two links I have posted above are good examples of these types of boards and you will be less likely to find information that is un-related to writing on either of these sites. Keep searching until you find one that suits you.
All of the resources I have listed are good ways to network with other writers. A friend of mine, an internet friend, referred to this network as a Cyber Family. I have to say that I agree with her whole-heartedly! I have made long-lasting friendships on the internet and what began as simply a give and take relationship based on writing has turned into the same relationship but it is based on life. My Cyber Family is there whenever I need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on and I try to be there when I am needed. Put yourself out there--join a writers forum or discussion list! Even if your family is supportive of your work and understands writing a novel takes longer than two weeks, you will make friends and relationships that will last a lifetime.