Crossing the Online Divide

Some people don’t get it, so I want to try to explain the “writing friends” thing.

I write. So do a lot of people I know online. We belong to writing forums, we friend each other on Facebook, I even follow a few of them on Twitter. We know the big name Agents and follow their blogs together. We know each other’s haunts and read each other’s blogs. We cheer each other on with querying, editing, and writing. We beta each other’s novels and short stories. We have friends that have been published, and some who’ve got brand new shiny debut book deals.

I met a group of these writers when they came to St. Louis for a writing conference a few years back. We got together for a couple of drinks and dinner.

A small group of us hang out in a comedy forum. When real life gets crazy, a battery, a twisted bunny, a zebra, a monkey, a bug, an undead chihuahua, and a drunk fairy make me feel normal.

I’ve “Known” some people on line for years. I’ve met somewhere around 20 of these people face-to-face, in real life. I know…it’s like worlds colliding and stuff. Even the ones I didn’t meet in person have become personal friends I cherish.

I know last December some people questioned my sanity as I set off to Chicago for a long weekend to meet a group of writing people I know online. Prior to the trip, we all spoke on the phone, and had very regular contact, this was no random grouping of writers. They were already very-loved friends. After the trip, I missed them like crazy and we planned our next meeting.

 

In March, a Β couple of those same people came to visit me for a weekend. They mixed with my local friends and now some of them are Facebook friends.

In June, a larger group, families included, went on a week long camping trip in Kentucky, forever to be known as Camp Runamuck. This brought another online friend into the fold.

In August, I met up with her and a couple more writing peeps at a writer’s conference called Killer Nashville.

The first weekend of November, two friends came to see me for my 40th Birthday. It wouldn’t have been the same without them. When we arrived at Tiny’s Pub, several people greeted Bug with a a very Cheers Norm welcome, “BUG!!” It’s a second home for her now.

Another trip is in the works for the beginning of next year, another go at Killer Nashville in August next year is slated as well. And my husband wants to take the whole family up to Minnesota to see our Bug.

These people aren’t just acquaintances. Online friendships can be as real as or more real than “real life” ones. In fact, I no longer add the disclaimer “online” to the word friend with them. Some people can cross the online divide and become friends for life.

There are very few ways I can blend all of the categories of my life. There’s work life, home life, family life, writing life, social life…the intersect and collide and sometimes get in the way of each other. But somehow, there are people who can cross those lines with you quite easily. Β I have friends that aren’t online friends who cross with me to my writing madness, and my family life quite well. These two awesome ladies, got me my favorite birthday presents ever – and totally gave into my word-geek-ness! (they are also two of the best cheerleaders a girl could ask for on the trek to getting published).

When you hear me talk about Runamuckers, or writer friends, or see me talking writing on Facebook with a group of lunatics you don’t quite understand, that’s them. If you’re not sure you get why I’m taking a picture with a crochet monkey or a stuffed zebra, or why I have to buy things with LadyBugs on them…well, now you know.

I have several others on my list of “must meet” and more plans to blend my local friends with my far-away writer ones.

If I take off for a long weekend and reference animals in my plans, you’ll know, I’m off to get my fix! You should consider joining us. πŸ™‚

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7 responses to “Crossing the Online Divide

  1. This makes me feel all smooshy inside.

    You’ve explained this so well. I’ve found myself blurring the line between online and real life more and more, and I’ve stopped referring to many of my writing friends as ‘online’ friends. You’re all my friends. πŸ™‚

  2. Who invited the Zombie chick? tee hee… Great post Stewie but I think if you tried – you could have found a worse picture of me for the group shot. Gah!

  3. Are you kidding? It’s a well-known fact that the worst pictures of all of our get-togethers are the ones of ME. and you know it. πŸ˜›

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