Friday, February 21, 2014

Finding Your Tribe

I'm sure I've written about this before, about a moment when I realized sitting in the middle of an RWA meeting I'd found my tribe.

Fats-forward two years and I'm still knee-deep into writing YA (moving back to Middle Grade) and still on the track to be published (this October!) and I've moved (quite literally, across multiple state lines), and the whole tribe thing pops up again.

I have to say, I got really lucky. Exceptionally, amazingly lucky that the first writing workshop I ever sat in was Southern Magic's. That the first time I ever drummed up enough courage (hello painful shyness) to go to a meeting was a Southern Magic meeting. I got wildly lucky that Jennifer Echols walked up to me during that meeting to hear more about the YA I was writing, to say I was so close and to keep at it. I got insanely lucky that the first group of writers I ever met were so unbelievably warm and welcoming and helpful and supportive.

When I moved out of Birmingham, those writers were the one thing I really missed.

But I'm in a new place and a new position with a new book about to come out and trying once again to find a tribe.

I mean, don't get me wrong, my tribe is on Twitter. They're the amazing writerly people who I'm lucky to call friends. But you need people on this side of the screen, too, and MAN am I realizing how lucky I was with Southern Magic. Super lucky. Because stick an introvert who would rather be on Twitter in a room full of strangers and...awkwardness.

Finding your tribe is a tricky thing. And then tribes change and shift. You change and shift.

I started out wanting to write romance. I'm not sure that I can write romance. Sure, there is kissing in my books and all, but a heck of a lot of people end up dead. Oops.

So I've been wavering about which tribe(s) belong to. I've been wavering about renewing my RWA national membership (especially in light of the YA RITA being cancelled). I've been wavering about paying to join SCBWI (because I'm tired of paying for things). I've been trying to get involved in the local writing scene. I've been wondering why I'd want to (isn't a day job and 2 kids enough?).

I've been writing books I never set out to write and loving it more than I ever expected. I've been trying to find a new tribe and feeling again like the new kid in High School.

It's exciting. It's hard. It's like starting over. (I hate starting over.)

And maybe in another two years I'll look back and wonder what I was looking for at all. Until then, I'm still working on finding my tribe. Until then... good luck finding yours.


Carla Swafford said...

Aww! We miss you too. Just be yourself and if you're worry that won't be enough (it should), bring food.

I'll never forget going to your house and stuffing bags while you stuffed us with your delicious cooking.

Chris Bailey said...

Finding your tribe is a universal theme! Knowing how it feels is part of what makes you such a good writer. I'm looking forward to your book release!

Naima Simone said...

I STILL miss you, Lisa! But no matter what tribe you find, you'll always be a part of us. Kinda like the mafia--without the whole blood oath, feet-in-cement-blocks thing, of course...

Any tribe you find is going to discover they have a treasure--a funny, sarcastic (Sigh. Love you), brilliant treasure who can cook the hell outta some food!

Did I tell you I made monkey bread? It came out of a box and I mucked up flipping it out of the baking pan, but it turned out great! :-) You were my inspiration!

Lisa Maxwell said...

Ahhhh!!! Miss you gals sooo much!

And Naima, there is no way to muck up monkey bread. As long as it is bread coated in sugary cinnamon-y goodness it is AWESOME.

Louisa Cornell said...

Any tribe would be lucky to have you as a member, Lisa !! And like Naima said "Once a Romance Magician, ALWAYS a Romance Magician!" We're like the Hotel California - You can check out, but you can never leave!

Your tribe is out there waiting for you. Never doubt it. And we will always have your back!

Finding my writing tribe has been such a huge asset to my writing career. The time I spend at conferences and at workshops and meetings with my writing groups and chapters are the only thing that keep me trying and keep me on this journey. And it keeps me from going postal at Walmart once of these days and taking out the entire management team! :)

robertsonreads said...

What some love! And, yes, you will find your tribe and wonder why it didn't come sooner. I've met a few of the ladies, Naima and Carla, and they are so wonderful. And, no I'm not a writer but a grateful reader of romance. Continue on and best of luck!
Ginger aka robertsonreads