Not a Lonely Job

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back when I was earning my living as a lawyer, I attended a hearing where a witness was asked why she wanted to work on the exchange floor when she was trading successfully from home. Her answer? "Trading is a lonely job."

That's what they say about writing, too. And it is partly true. I don't have colleagues occupying offices next door or meeting in conference rooms down the hall. When I sit down to put words on paper, I'm the only one in the room.

But I'm not alone.

No, I'm not referring to God. Yes, He is with me, but that's not what this post is about.

A truly solitary job is one that no one else understands well enough to provide encouragement and where no one else has input into the final product. I don't know if there are any truly solitary jobs out there, but neither writers nor traders qualify.

Writers are part of a broader writing community, and traders are part of a broader trading community. Both writers and traders can find others who have dealt with the same issues to provide encouragement.

Good writers seek input from critique partners, editors, and others to improve their manuscripts. Good traders read financial newsletters and study other traders' opinions and methods to improve their own performance.

I belong to a number of local, regional, and national writers' groups, and I am active in several. These include a local critique group (the Highland Writers' Group), a non-profit group formed to encourage Indiana's creative writers (the Indiana Writers' Consortium), and the Indiana chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Each of these groups meets several times throughout the year, and HWG meets weekly. They all provide excellent opportunities to interact with other people who understand the writing life.

Saturday was a good example.

That's when IWG held its second annual networking picnic. Although there were a couple of fundraising activities, the day was primarily about the fellowship and the food and the fun. And I enjoyed creating a literary scavenger hunt using books as clues to things people could find in or near the picnic location.

You may have a job that requires some alone time, but you aren't alone.

And writing is definitely not a lonely job.

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