My WANA Island

It’s Deep-Fried Friday, and boy do I have a sizzling something for you today! Yesterday on her blog, author Jenny Hansen announced a party! But before I give you the deets about that lovely event, let’s take a look at the lonely road of writing.

When I wrote my first novel, I was like the main character in the movie of Cast Away. Remember that flick with Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend “Wilson”? Check out a quick clip from the movie:

That’s how many of us live on writer’s island. We have an imaginary friend or two we chat with, we diligently work at our craft, and we celebrate alone when we achieve something. Sure, it’s great that we made fire wrote a book, but the endeavor involved just one person and no one was there to make or enjoy the fire with us. Even introverts, like me, can get lonely and feel a little lost.

Now let’s head to another island…

I grew up watching Gilligan’s Island…I mean, a LOT of Gilligan’s Island. To the point where you I can see the first scene and say things like, “This is the one where they put on a play, but Mary Ann gets hit in the head with a coconut and thinks she’s Ginger, so then Ginger has to be Mary Ann, and then . . .” I can also sing ALL of the lyrics to the theme song. Despite the years of mockery this show has endured, it has, well, endured.

Because Gilligan’s Island might actually be one of the best ways to be on a deserted island–with others. Sure, these people didn’t know they could become friends, but throw them on a tropical island with a broken boat, one radio, and a whole lot of palm trees, and pretty soon they’re doing okay. They want to be rescued, but as long as Ginger’s sequin dress lasts, they could stay a little longer.

Imagine Hanks with that fire. Wouldn’t that have been more fun with Gilligan and the gang? They could have danced a conga line around that bonfire!

When I started writing, I was on Cast Away Island. Then I found friends online–mainly through the We Are Not Alone (WANA) world. Kristen Lamb, Social Media Jedi and fearless leader of WANA, has helped to link hundreds of writers to each other and to readers. After reading her book and taking her class and following her advice, I have met–online and in person–some of the most supportive writers I could imagine. They are much more fun than Wilson.

Just like on Gilligan’s Island, WANA Island has writers with a wealth of knowledge like the Professor; some with fabulous resources like Thurston Howell III; some with constant encouragement and kindness like Mary Ann; and some who’ll share beauty tips book-writing tips with you like Ginger. In fact, this crew is better than Gilligan’s Island because I’m pretty sure if we were all stranded, my WANA friends would have a tiki bar up in no time serving up whatever you would like. The raft would be already made and sitting off in a corner ready for us to embark as soon as we were done having our fun.

Welcome to WANA Island!

I cannot stress how much I have learned and been encouraged by my relationships with the WANA (and ROW80) folks. If you want to bring in the New Year right, come join us for a TGI2013 Twitter party today from 5:00-9:00 CST at the #MyWANA hashtag!

Check out Jenny’s post with the details at her blog, More Cowbell.

Learn more about WANA at Kristen’s website from her post, Join the Love Revolution.

And see the current course line-up for WANA International.

Meanwhile, if you’re a WANA, let me know in the comments what this group has meant to you. And if you’re not, ask me anything about WANA, and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

And be sure to pop in tonight at the #MyWANA hashtag for our TGI2013 Twitter party!

24 thoughts on “My WANA Island

  1. I’ve been a member of WANAMinions for awhile now and I’m happy to be a part of it. I know my fellow writer friends have taken Kristen’s class and read her books and though I’m not a Twitter person, I’m on FB often enough and am enjoying it. So far I’m enjoyed my 2013 even though it’s only the fourth day. But every day can be important – and IS important if you make it so.

  2. Being a WANA, I’ve received humor, support and much info and know this will continue. Thank you Ladies.

  3. If I had never gotten WANAed, I’d still be flailing around with my writing–NOT publishing my first novel in a few months. I’ve met wonderful writers who have (whether they know it or not) mentored me and encouraged me to get on with my publishing and writing journey. Everything I have right now (the blog, my facebook friends, my twitter followers) is because of WANA in one way or another.

    1. Wow. That’s quite the testimonial, Catie. One of my best “finds” through WANA is my friendship with you. So excited about your new book. Can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for you!

    2. Catie, I see my writing life in a pretty similar manner – I was flailing with no direction before Kristen got hold of me, and friends like you and Julie make my life SO much richer and more fulfilling. 🙂

  4. Definitely a great analogy, Julie! WANA changed my life. Not only has Kristen really set up the do’s and don’ts of writing for us, but she’s given all of us a place to congregate. It’s how I met you and so many of my other WANA peeps. Definitely grateful for everything it has done for me and couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.

  5. I’m still trying to determine how I can use social media without spending too much writing time there, but I’m loving the network of blogging friends I’ve met through WANA! I know if not for them, my blog would still be a lonely place, with only a couple comments a week – that is, if I would even still be blogging. Here’s hoping I remember to get on Twitter this evening!

    1. Yes, it’s tough to balance. I’m getting better at it, though. Unfortunately, I still miss a lot of great posts, but we gotta write the books too, huh? In fact, sometimes it’s my WANA buddies who tell me to get off and go write. Perfect way to use social media!

  6. I remember Gilligan’s Island, didn’t every episode have someone getting bonked on the head, lol, I really enjoyed that show.
    Probably my favorite thing with WANA is the everyone’s welcome attitude, even shy gals like me feel comfortable to join in.

  7. Julie, there are so very many reasons why I dig you and a love of The Gilligan is one of them. 🙂

    Thanks for pimping out both tonight’s party and MORE COWBELL!

  8. What has WANA given me? Where to start? Wow. First of all, I’m so thankful my husband insisted I attend the second LIRW meeting (even though I didn’t think my writing would ever compare to those in the group!). Because of that support, I joined LIRW. My chapter then sponsored a social media workshop by none other than…Kristen Lamb. I was slightly overwhelmed by the volume of emails during that online workshop, and I didn’t contribute or participate anywhere as much as I should have (due to shyness), but I cannot put into words what I gained from that one week course. I took the plunge, started a blog, learned about the importance of branding and platform, and began the process of networking with like-minded writers. My writer friends have added so many layers of richness, not only to my writing career, but to my life. I haven’t met many of my WANA friends in oersib, but I dare to call you all my friends. You inspire me with your honesty, your humor, your generosity, and your commitment to the craft. I’m honored to be one of the many WANAMinions.

    One of my goals for 2013 is to branch out and get to know even more of you. Yes, it’s difficult to balance all the daily demands, writing time, PLUS social media, but without my connection online to all of you I’d be very much like lonely castaway talking to my Wilson (cat or laptop) as I create imaginary worlds.

    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Write, write, write!!!

  9. Julie, I think flailing is the perfect word. I’d hate to think what my writing life would be without WANA. I love Gillian Island, the skipper too and Mary Ann. And all my WANA friends. Throw me a grass skirt Julie. I’m ready! 🙂

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