When this concept of online friends first surfaced, I wondered how you could be friends with people you haven't met. There were crazy people pretending to be all ages, even different genders, and preying on teenagers.
And then I was invited to join an online writer's group. Suddenly, I was sharing info with women and men from across the state, all encouraging each other as we strived for publication. Some of us were already published, and educated the others about promotional ideas, and this new-fangled thing called e-publishing. Two writers were very gung-ho about the concept, and answered any questions. One had a release date, and the other had a contract. How exciting!
I discovered something, though...saying something to one's face in a teasing manner and typing it onscreen in the same teasing manner doesn't always come across in the same context! Plus, you have to be careful how you word your reply...the other person can't read your mind, and may take your innocent comment to be something else. I almost got into another 'war of words' with someone because of it, but checked myself and backed off. Funnily enough, that particular person is now one of my best online friends...go figure!
Anyway, that chat loop provided the info I needed to set up a website; start a blog; even meeting others across the globe once I got over my shyness and began chatting on different loops. And yes, on more than one occassion, managed to put both feet in the blog, so to speak, and caused a minor uproar. But patience and a sincere apology was all it took to win people back. But the second time caused a rift between myself and another friend, who went on a smear campaign against a mutual friend, so I quit trying to stay on her 'good side'. But when she started attacking others...well that was the final straw. I still read her blog, but I don't email her or seek her advice anymore. I did give into a fit of childish no-longer-able-to-keep-quiet-about-it-any-longer moment (See Feb 3rd's post).
But what I'm getting at is, my physical friends don't entirely understand why I'm perfectly content to stay home and write all day long. Or my delight in getting rid of the kids for a week, or wondering why they couldn't stay away longer (grin!). I've had people offer me those in-home businesses 'so you'd have something to do during the day'.
Huh? You mean BESIDES the laundry, the vacuuming, the dusting, keeping an eye on a busy toddler, and oh yeah...trying to write at least a chapter a day? Yeah...I have nothing better to do with my time...I also read for at least 2 hours a day. And occassionally, I get a check in the mail, or even some spending money when I'm at the craft fairs.
And why don't I take my kids with me to these festivals? 'Mom...can I have some money for food?'....'Mom...this guy has these puppets I just gotta have...' 'Mom, can I please go on the bumper cars?'
Not to mention my own guilty pleasure...the candle displays, or I see something that would make an excellent Christmas/birthday gift for someone! Or earrings...or even another author....yeah, my cash tends to disappear as fast as it comes in. I've learned to put myself on a budget at these things!
But if I'm stuck on a scene, or need a better phrase, all I have to do is call up my email and fire off a 'HELP'. Advice usually shows up within the hour:)
And it's thanks to these wonderful friends that I was finally e-pubbed this year. And I have it on good authority I've sold at least nine. Now if someone will just read it and let me know if they liked it or hated it....I don't even know if my publisher has sent it to any review sites, or if that's my responsibility!
Guess I'd better fire off another email.
Tomorrow: Imaginary friends:)