When I started contributing last year, I set out with one basic goal: to see what I could learn through shared experiences. And while I've learned a lot from my year here, there was one lesson, one truth, I never would have guessed I'd find.
Stephen King said, "Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don't have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough."
I always thought this meant that having the support of my husband/sister/friends was enough. But writing is not something I have ever readily shared, even with them. They believe in me, encourage me, but they are not writers. They can't commiserate with me when I hit a tough spot. They don't always have the right words to spur me on. Other times I just need someone who understands, who can listen and nod, and not say anything, and yet I'll know they've been there, they've survived, and so can I.
Having a writing community, having friends who share this passion, or obsession, or aspiration, whatever we want to call it, that is the single most important part of writing for me. I can write without it. I did before I joined the Prosers. But writing within a community is something beyond basic accomplishment. I imagine it's a lot like the discovery of fire. People survived without it, but once you've got it, why give it up?
So I'm off to other adventures, mostly those involving a small, pink creature that cries and eats and sleeps more than anything else. But I won't be far, because I can't imagine going back to life without other writers, people who will understand why my shirt is inside out and I've got bags under my eyes as I stare at my computer screen at two in the morning, muttering under my breath something about plot points and story arcs.
Thank you for being those people this past year. Thank you for giving me this wonderful lesson, and many others. Most of all everyone, thank you for the stories.