Free Hugs – The Blessing of Community

If you are a regular reader here, you’ll recall my previous mentions of admiration for Kristen Lamb, her #MyWANA virtual meeting place and all of my WANA711 peeps met during her summer Blogging to Build Your Brand course.  For regular followers–THANK YOU!  For your loyalty, you get the keys to the Godiva room.  If you are new to my blog, you get a Godiva truffle and a promise of keys in the future if you stick around.  :-)

I am blessed to have connections to other writers in my local critique group as well as  friends across the country that I’ve met at conferences.  I now consider many in the WANA band to be part of my extended circle of writer friends.  They are fellow bloggers, crafters of short stories and novelists covering multiple genres. 

We chat about writing goals, successes (and struggles) with finding writing time and word counts and what next to tackle in our to-be-read piles.  We’ve shared about day job tortures fun and how to get it all done with family demands.  They understand and support my performance reality TV show addictions and share their own for Dexter, The Real Housewives series and CSI.  We cheer each other on, kick each other back into gear and have some wicked virtual parties. 

Another thing we do is sing the praises of others’ success and blogging by giving awards.  I was bestowed the One Lovely Blog award by Angela Orlowski-Peart.  Angela fits my description of someone with a positive energy and spirit, and just looking at her Gravatar just makes me smile. 

Angela OrlowskiPeart

Angela is a young adult paranormal romance and urban fiction writer.  She’s also a beautiful blogger with a range of topics.  Do check out her blog.  You can do it now if you promise to come back.  I’ve got some dark chocolate to munch while waiting for you.   

The award rules are that I need to dig out five wacky/random facts from the depths of my secret lair, then pass the award on to five people.  Here we go:

  • In elementary school, I used to dry Elmer’s glue blobs on paper, color them with Crayola markers and then eat them.  No, they didn’t taste like the “flavors” I’d colored them.
  • I attended a Dead Milkmen concert in the late ’80s and hung out in the mosh pit.
  • In its heyday, I watched MTV every hour on the hour for repeats of the newest videos.  Many times my face would be nearly pressed to the screen.
  • I can read material that is upside down.
  • I used to be able to put my ankles behind my ears while sitting on the floor.

I’m passing the award on to the following peeps (make sure you visit each of their blogs):

Marcia Richards 

Amber West

Karen McFarland 

Nicole Basaraba

K.T. Hanna

Who makes up your writing community?  How do you do to build upon the virtual or conference friendships you have made?

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20 Responses to Free Hugs – The Blessing of Community

  1. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos says:

    It’s the WANA crew for me too! Taking that class was such a great way to work on an establish my blog. The wonderful and unexpected side of the class was the friendships we made along the way. It’s been so fun to see each other’s blogs grow, and I think we’ve seen ourselves grow too. I think it’s made us all feel more validated. Like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing! Great post and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you and learning about how much you love to dance!!

    • Yes, Jillian! It is like the light came on during the class then we had our core unit and extended WANA community for reinforcement. Great getting to know you too and watching the success of your blog and books. :-) Heh, my love of dance is what led me to the mosh pit. Um, different type of dance. Gotta move fast or get squashed.

  2. Ditto to what Jillian said! I couldn’t agree more. Our little WANA world has blown my world wide open with friendship, writing support, community and a true sense of family! Love it!
    LOVE the free hug video…soooo cool!!!

    • Absolutely, Natalie! I’ve learned so much from just reading about how others handle their writing process, life demands, the to-be-read pile, etc. Refreshing that it isn’t about titles or number of pubs someone has, but about community.

  3. Community is what it’s all about Barb – so true! Our Wana group has turned into such a AWE-mazing connection that offers incrediblE support and information as well as friendship … and BONUS (!) large amounts of laughter on a regular basis. Dance on, girl, … we’re trying to keep up and, oh, … the KEY to the Godiva room? Be still my beating heart! THANKS!

    • See, Patricia, I figure if I share the Godiva I’ll a) have less chance of migraine and b) get everyone so sugared up that they’ll then dance with wild abandon. :-)

      I love our group because we have such talented people at every level of writing career and we have (and will) learn so much from each other. No one is left out or left behind.

  4. I never would imagined how satisfying a cyber-community could be until WANA. I’ve been online for years (decades?) and have been part of many online groups, so I was jaded on the whole idea. But, now. . . I think differently.

    Great way to acknowledge Angela too. I borrow this idea. . . :)

    • Me too, Bridgette. I’ve taken a few online courses before and done the work, but lacked a continuing connection. WANA is amazing both in the network of members, but also the true spirit when put into practice. We can do all the business stuff of being a writer and be happy, social people too.

  5. Amber West says:

    I’m flattered to be in such lovely company! Thank you so much. Definitely the boost I needed after spending much of the week sick and away from the computer (i.e. away from my online community).

    Thank you so much for being such a wonderful support to so many of us out there.

    And seriously, that picture of Angela makes me smile every time I see it!

    • “Thank you so much for being such a wonderful support to so many of us out there.” (blushing) Aww, Amber, I so can say the same to you! Your Go Without initiative totally made me rethink some of my habits. Along with the zinc and chocolate I’ve sent your way, I’m also including some rotisserie chicken pieces to go into your soup. :-)

  6. Marcia says:

    Aww, Barb! Thanks so much! I agree, the WANA women are truly amazing and wonderful friends! I love my Life List Club friends,too! It’s almost 7 months old and I’ve made so many great connections. Thanks again for the award, G/F!

  7. Echoing all the sentiments posted above! Our WANA family has become an extension of my own family. Not a day goes by that I don’t say to my husband, “One of my WANA sistas said this’, or ‘One of my blogging buddies did that’. It’s awesome and I consider all of you true friends.

    Congrats on the award!! I love your random facts, but am frightened by the fact that I could have written that list word for word. We must’ve been twins separated at birth. Seriously. Even the foot behind the head thing.

    As for the video ~ I would’ve given him a hug. More people should, it’s good for us.

    • Oh my goodness, Tameri! Or should I say finally found twin sister! Bwahaha. I’m hoping yoga can get me back to the flexibility of my younger days because the feet behind the head skill was a great party trick. :-)

  8. The MyWana and Wana711 experience has been absolutely fabulous. The community we’ve established has surprised me more than I ever expected. :-)

    Congrats on the award, Barbara!

    • Thanks, Angela! I thought I’d just be taking a great class, learning tips to develop a better blog (and understand how to build a brand) and reading some great blogs. I’ve gained so much more. Amazing. :-)

  9. OMG!!!!!!! What a sweet surprise, Barbara. I had your blog link sitting in my email, and when I finally got to clicking on it, my own laughing face “stared” back at me. Yikes! For a moment I wasn’t sure where I was. That’s hilarious! Thank you for such a wonderful shoutout :-)

    I continue to feel blessed to be a part of such a fantastic, caring, smart and fun group as our wana711. I hope we will keep in touch for many many years to come. It’s hard to imagine it’s been already several months. I love the fact that we keep growing together, inspiring and supporting each other in every way possible.

    All the facts that you listed above are great and, like Tameri, I could put a check mark next to almost all of them (well, maybe not the first one, ha-ha – and not the second one, but all of the rest!). Yep, we are triplets separated at birth.

    • Yeah! It is so great to find another long-lost sib! And I’m glad my shout out was a happy surprise for your, Angela! We sure have done a lot since the summer. What a great group of focused friends . :-)

  10. K.T. Hanna says:

    Thank you so much, hon. I have to add this one to my awards, I just keep forgetting.
    Finding people who understand you is a great thing. Thank you for thinking of me with the award :D

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