Mile 26: Facebook Friends

Maybe I’m slow, but it takes months, sometimes years, for me to make a friend. That’s one of the fascinating things about Facebook — you can make, by their definition, a new friend in a matter of seconds. Simply click a button, and if they accept, rather than delete, your request, you have a new friend. Or, if you really want to accelerate the process, you can join a Facebook group and suddenly have a world of new friends.

Clearly there is a difference between “hold you when you’re scared, toast to your successes, laugh at your bad jokes” real-life friends and Facebook friends. In my last entry, I shared with you how your real-life friends can be of tremendous value. But, and it’s an important but, do not underestimate the value of Facebook friends.

In the past year or so, I have connected on an electronic level with a couple dozen Western writers and Western writing enthusiasts. Their input, critiques, support and suggestions have proven to be invaluable. Sometimes you’re just stuck, not sure what to do next or where to go. Post your question in one of the key groups, and you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll get responses and how valuable they can be. Plus, most of these groups are international, so if you’re working at a time when it might be inconvenient to call your “real-life” friends, you might still hear from a Facebook friend in Europe, or Africa, or South America. And, at least for me, somehow that seems to give the whole process an international flair and make it just a little bit more fun.

Facebook groups also have the distinct advantage of letting you communicate directly with a number of people who are all doing what you’re doing and have been through what you’ve been through. For most of us, our real-life friends are not all writers and certainly not all Western writers.

But, almost every one of the more than 4,000 members of the Western Writers of America Facebook page are, as are the almost 1,500 members of the Western Fictioneers page. You might get to know some of the 1,000 members of the Western Books page, where you can talk to writers and readers of Westerns. There are another dozen or more groups that are focused on Western writing and/or reading, and it is my experience that most of them are quite willing to share advice and counsel. Take advantage of it — become a part of the different online communities, and make sure you try to give back at least as much as you take.

By the way, if we’re not Facebook friends, send me an invitation!

I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at [email protected].

Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!

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