Monday, April 2, 2012

What a Great Community

Monday, March 26, was like Oscar nomination day in the romance world. The Romance Writers of America announced the finalists in the RITA and Golden Heart contests. *Happy sigh* The excitement, the flurry, the tweets and Facebook statuses (stati?) blowing up with congratulations and heart-pounding messages. Even those of us who didn't have entries in these prestigious contests watched with obsessive anxiety, ready to congratulate or console our friends.

Speaking of...CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR VERY OWN ANGEL, CECILY!! She finaled in the Golden Heart, YA category.

What struck me as I watched my Twitter and Facebook feeds scroll at highway speeds was how supportive everyone was. While I should be used to it by now, it never stops amazing me. Perhaps because I've seen several writing communities become wastelands of trolling and mud-slinging. Or other writers (not romance) non-constructively rip an excerpt to shreds, because s/he "had studied the craft for years," despite never having published any of their work. I've also worked in offices with a lot of women, and within weeks, the atmosphere is replete with back-stabbing, gossip, and politics.

Not in the romance community. At least, not that I've ever seen, even at a national conference, where approximately 2000 women (and a handful of men) are in the same building for four days.

Instead, I've had readers offer to beta read my stories, for no other reason than they love to read. Published authors have offered to critique my work, with no expectation of anything in return. My first online forum was on the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn bulletin board, where I met some of the most amazing women, and Eloisa and Julia often answered questions themselves. Every day, there's a Twitter hashtag where you can go to get motivation to write in the form of a #1k1hr (1000 words in 1 hour) challenge. This one isn't all romance authors, but a lot of them are. Published and unpublished alike.

Some people question why Romanceland is like this, wondering if it's because we are all in a group sneered at by other genre writers. I'm not going to question it, though, and instead be thankful I belong to such a great group of people. They motivate, inspire, and encourage. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Where do you get your motivation? Do you belong to a group like this, outside of the romance community?


  1. What a wonderful post, Noelle and so true. I attended my first RWA conference two years ago where I met most of the angels. I've also met some wonderful women through online romance writing classes at Gotham.

    I agree that the "atmosphere" of other conferences and classes other than romance is not as friendly which is a shame.

    Unfortunately there are no writing groups here. (Tried starting one, but got that look when I mentioned I write romance.)My best friend is my current critique partner and friends (angels and others) are great motivators for me through facebook and my author page.

    1. Hi, Elke! Thanks for coming by! Sorry to hear you don't have writing groups where you are, but glad you still have some other supporters. They're wonderful to have!

      Have you considered one of the online RWA chapters? There are a few, depending on what you write.

  2. I love this topic, Noelle! Absolutely so true about romance authors. I find so much encouagement within my local RWA chapters, my fellow angels, my boyfriend and best girlfriend (both write as well). I have taken online classes through RWA University and RWA chapters. All of them have been wonderful avenues to meet such talented and supportive authors (both published and unpublished).

    I have met authors while attending DragonCon (Science Fiction Conference). Every author I met encouraged me and willingly offered great advise.

    Again, wonderful topic and post!


    JD :)

    1. Hey, JD! They're an amazing group of writers, aren't they?

  3. Super post, Noelle. I noticed the same thing when I joined a local romance authors group, then RWA. The members are so supportive and encouraging. I fear I need interaction to keep me motivated, so I'm extremely thankful for my writing friends. And nothing makes me happier than to see someone succeed. Publishing is such a tough field to break into that when anyone does, it's a cause for celebration.

    1. Barb, hi! I think you're write (hah!). I always have the urge to put fingers to the keyboard after a GRW meeting. Inspiration, motivation, and encouragement, wrapped up in a three hour meeting with approximately 50 other people who share the same crazy symptoms (voices in their heads, insomnia, and a burning need for chocolate). Love it!

  4. My first writing conference as all of you Angels know was the RWA nationals in 2010 where I met all of you. Best thing ever! There are writers groups where I live, but none that are supportive of romance writing. I have never encountered such support or met so many good friends as through this publishing endeavor. I absolutely love it and I feel that when 1 of us gets published or is nominated/finals for an award I feel a sense of "Yes! There is a reason romance is the #1 selling genre in the world!"

  5. I know, right!!!

    I can't count how many times I've sat there, jaw-dropped, at how unbelievably supportive everyone is in the romance community. Even after the nominations came out, the first thing one of the Golden Heart finalists did was start up an email loop so we can all stay informed and positively connected. I felt like saying, "Hey, um, y'all know we're competitors, right?"
    I mean, where's the hostility? Where's the animosity? Where's the cutthroat Tonya Harding-esque sabotage mentality?

    Seriously, I don't think there IS another community like this one! Maybe it's a girl thing.
    Maybe it's a love thing.
    Whatever it is, I am SO FLIPPIN' BLESSED to be a part of it!!!

    I love you guys with a passion!!!!
    (And I mean that in the least creepy way possible...)

  6. Hey! I can see the blog now, thanks to Jen and Google Chrome. Noelle, this is a fantastic topic! I worked with the same bunch of women for 18+ years and there was always some cat fight or another going on, even though we love each other like sisters. But you are so right about the romance thing. I mean, in order for it to be called a 'romance' what's the one thing it has to have? An HEA...right? So that's us...whether we're paranormal, erotic, YA, contemporary, historical or whatever...we ALL want our happy ending and that translates into being supportive. I don't have a group near me, or not one that caters to romance writers. The group I was in were nice people, don't get me wrong, but it's just not the same as when I hang around romance people. And yes, Cecily...we are all flippin' blessed to have the opportunities to meet others like US! And may I say one more time how proud I am of you for the Golden Heart? I remember hearing Jenn's name being announced in the running in Orlando and me and Trish clapped like crazy because we'd MET her a few times over there. Enough to get invited to a particular party afterwards. We were excited for HER and now we're excited for YOU! I know I'm rambling but I'm just so flippin' happy that I can see the posts now! lol.