The Writer’s Pod

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When I was at the Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference a week or so ago, I went to one of my all-time favorite places: The Santa Cruz Wharf. It’s one of the best places to see the sea lions, which are draped all over the pilings of the wharf, as well as swimming and playing in the water around it. A few years ago, I saw something I’d never seen before. A group of sea lions all floating together. Come to find out it was a sea lion “pod”—a formation they use during migration to present a larger profile to predators as they migrate. And this year, the pod was there again!

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As I watched them floating there, leaning on each other, it made me think about the conference and why I love being among writers. So here are the lessons for writers that I learned from the pod:

The Pod keeps you connected. Being in community with other writers helps to not only hone your skills, but brings you friends who can keep you accountable. They can keep you grounded and on task. They can speak truth when you’re confused or feeling like you’ve lost your passion for the task.

The Pod supports you. Just as the sea lions rested their heads on each other, so we can find rest and support from other writers when we’re weary or beat up. Our community of writers and support and encourage us. They can rejoice with us when we receive good news, and put an arm around us when we’re down.

The Pod warns you of danger. The sea lions sounded off any time a threat approached. Likewise, being in a community of God-centered writers gives us friends who can sound the warning bell when threats arise, such as predatory publishers/agents/and so on. Remember Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Do you have a Writer’s Pod of your own? If so, terrific! If not, consider connecting with other writers through the Internet, through a local writers’ group, or just through a group of friends who all love writing. Yes, writing is a solitary occupation, but we don’t have to be alone all the time. Nor should we be. God created us for fellowship. So get out there and find your pod!

7 Responses to The Writer’s Pod

  1. Jackie Layton April 30, 2014 at 3:13 am #

    Hi Karen,

    I do belong to a couple of writing groups. One is online and one is physical. It’s so great to have others to connect with.

    Have a great day!

  2. Jeanne Takenaka April 30, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    Great post, Karen, and great reminder why we should have other writers around us. I have mentors and writing friends, all of whom encourage me, and hopefully, I encourage them right back. It’s pretty special to have people surrounding me who have my back through prayer and through sharing wisdom so I can grow. We laugh together, brainstorm together and lift each other up when discouragement tries to set in.

    I try to do that for others as well when the opportunity presents itself.

  3. Laura Christianson April 30, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    I instantly recognized your picture of the pod, Karen. Thanks so much for suggesting that we visit Santa Cruz and for stuffing us all in your minivan. It was a relaxing time of “podding” with other writers. Taking field trips with your pod is an important part of the writer pod experience.

  4. Jen April 30, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    How interesting that you and Rachelle Gardner have written on related topics today, Karen! Your image of a pod is spot-on, especially when I think of sounding off an alert to danger. I think writers can be the hardest on each other, but in the best possible way–reflecting Proverbs 27:17. I love the way my faithful writing friends and crit partners sharpen my pen, and provide unique encouragement along the way.

  5. J.D. Maloy May 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    I’ll never look at sea lions the same again!

    Like everyone else, I too, feel crazy blessed by the “pods” God has place me in. This industry can leave me feeling discouraged, overwhelmed and lost at times. Having a fantastic support group really helps keep my head afloat.

    Our spring break from school fell the week leading into Easter. We took our boys to Santa Cruz. We didn’t see the “pod” but sure heard them from the beach 🙂

    Thank you!

  6. Kell Brigan October 21, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    Where? I live in Sacramento, California. We have a book festival coming up that’s about 30% self “published” people with absolutely no professional or even academic writing experience presuming to give people advice on writing. They’re even showcasing the head of a local vanity press who is absolutely illiterate as an authority on writing. I’m boycotting. All but one of the writers groups in town is supersaturated with self-published people, and all of the discussions and presentations are either about how to self-publish, or are presentations on how to write by still more “writers” with no credentials or experience, many of whom write at levels far below even an 8th grade level. And, of course, they always have the box of POD books handy for sale.

    Where are people who respect excellence, who hope to fulfill the most rigorous of professional requirements, who are seeking solely traditional publishing find each other? I know of only two other people in the entire state of California who are pursuing traditional publishing; every other venue, convention, event, festival is dominated by self-publishers. How can people seeking traditional publication even see each other over the crowd?

  7. Karen Ball October 22, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    Kell, one thing you can do is start a group yourself. Find people in your area who have the same goals and training that you have, and work together to encourage and refine each other.

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