The Writer's Community—Your Best Support!
Writing may be a solitary profession, but you don't need to be alone. While most family and friends are proud to have a writer in the family, they don't truly understand the process.
You can spend a whole day working on your book, agonizing over each word or phrase, only to have your well-meaning partner wonder why you only produced two double-spaced pages in all that time.
The truth is, they may love you and wish you well, but only another writer can understand what you're going through and
how it feels.
Sometimes new writers are not comfortable reaching out to other writers in their area. They don't want to look foolish, and fear criticism. Some are even afraid that if they talk about their project, another writer will steal their idea. Rest assured that we all feel a little foolish and afraid when we try new things and meet new people—but joining the writing community is one of the most helpful, valuable things a new writer can do.
Almost all writers I've met are delighted to meet and assist newbies in every way they can. They've experienced what you're going through, have asked the same questions that are on your mind, and are generally eager to help you. Classes on writing are great, but your best lessons will come from talking with experienced writers. And not only will other writers share their tips and ideas with you, they'll also cheer you on, help you when you're feeling stuck, and support you as you navigate each step in the process.
So, join a critique group, investigate writing clubs and groups in your area, and check out Meet-Up for any groups that are writing related. If you can't find anything in your area, check online. One good one to follow (then join if you wish) is NCPA (Northern California Publishers & Authors).