In case you haven’t noticed, I do a lot of griping about the bad behavior I see online. And yet, in so doing I perpetuate the problem. The jerks are by no means the majority, but it’s easier for them to evoke an emotional response from me than it is for the good people. I really ought to stop focusing my attention in that direction. There is good to be found, and I need to spend more time acknowledging it.
Last year around this time I went to LTUE, a three-day writing conference. Along the way I was referred to the The Authors’ Think Tank, an online community started by Jennifer J. Bennett, a mom and writer from Saint George, Utah. With the help of several others she created a blog, started a weekly podcast, built a Facebook community, and recruited help to generate content. Not long after I found the site Jennifer put out the call for volunteers to write blog posts. Still flushed with the excitement of LTUE, I volunteered, even though I don’t consider myself all that knowledgeable. I certainly don’t have much in the way of references. But I figured I could at least write about the beginner writer’s experience and offer some encouragement.
Jennifer accepted my offer, and I began to produce a post or two every month for awhile. Last fall she came to me again to see if I’d be willing to commit to a regular spot. I agreed to try once every two weeks.
Well, late last year Jennifer had to make a tough call. She couldn’t keep up with everything she has to do and turned responsibility for the site and community over to some of the others. James became the new rallying point, and in the process of offering him what support I could I suddenly found myself agreeing to a weekly post. I also found myself invited into the “Inner Circle”, though I’ll admit I’m not entirely comfortable there yet. I’m hoping to fix that some at this year’s LTUE.
The point of this, though, is that Jennifer, and now James, recognized the need for a community for writers of all levels, and that’s what they built. My experiences have been quite positive, and though it’s grown to the point that I can’t keep track of all the activity on the site and the Facebook community, I can see what they’ve accomplished is quite unique. I’ve come to know several of the regulars some, and know where I can turn for help should the need arise. I see others using the community for all kinds of feedback and assistance, which is precisely what it was intended for.
So I’m calling out Jennifer and James, and the rest of the crew for recognition as an example of “The Good To Be Found Online.” Way to go, guys!