As an author, I spend much of my time working on my own. Yet, like most people, I have an innate desire to be part of a community. I value constructive feedback, different perspectives and the wealth of experience that other people can offer.
I have made use of social media to help promote my first book, The Lost Castle. In doing so, I’ve found people willing to share my posts. I have had publishing related questions, and I don’t know any publishing experts. An author forum has connected me with complete strangers who have given me the answers I need. I am also now part of a blogger community. Each time a fellow writer clicks ‘like’ on one of my posts, it reminds me that whilst I may be the only person in the room, I am not, in fact, alone.
This is different from the virtual team concept in an employment scenario. No-one in my community is just doing their job. They have chosen to help, either because they are interested in what I am writing, or because they see the benefit of a relationship – however distant – based on give and take.
There is, of course, a downside to this arrangement: many of these people don’t know me. They don’t have to look me in the eye when they give feedback. I know that at some point someone will not like what I do, and won’t be shy about saying so. I will try to view those remarks in the context of all the other reviews and comments my work has attracted, which so far have been extraordinarily kind.
Our paths may be unique, but we all have to find our feet. In these early stages of my new career, my virtual community has provided support, guidance and encouragement and I’m deeply thankful for that.
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