The internet is a terrible vortex that will suck you in and never let go, but it has its uses. Through blogging, I met my first critique partner who lives in Oklahoma. This was well after I had moved to Europe. But we got to know each other by commenting back and forth and then I got gutsy and emailed her, asking if she wanted to trade writing work. Now I would say that she is one of my best friends.
Same sort of thing happened with Jessica, right here on this blog. We started stalking each other a bit and then as the relationship grew, we got more involved in each other’s lives. To the point that when she was taking a business trip to Zurich, I made plans to meet her there! I also belong to a writer’s forum that is based in England. I probably would have found this forum even if I wasn’t living over here, but I’ve again had the chance to actually meet the woman who hosts it, simply because I was only a train ride away.
Being an expat writer has been hard. Especially in a non-touristy area where there aren’t as many English speakers. I went to Paris recently and at Shakespeare and Co (the famous bookshop) I saw a sign that they have a writing group that meets weekly. I was sad that I didn’t live in Paris, or Berlin, or, my dream destination, the UK. But I’m not sure I would have met the people I have without being stuck in a foreign place. I really had to push myself to find connections, and it worked out so well.
So here's my advice to anyone whether they are living in their home country with people that speak the same language, or they are having adventures around the world. Make connections. Use the internet as a tool, not a black hole where your time disappears.
I’m sure as I get further in my career and am not as able to go to book signings or visit with my editors for lunch, it might get harder. But honestly, the world is constantly changing (especially the publishing world) and I think that it won’t really matter where you are. My mind is more open to the possibilities of world-wide because of living away from home. (And really, since I’m such an introvert, it works in my favor!)
Could you live without the Internet? Why?
Amie McCracken is a voracious reader. Her calling in life is editing. Her ideas tend to take over and most of the time you’ll catch her staring off into space. Website: amiemccracken.com