|---"United we stand, divided we fall.''|
The rationale here is that our "tribe" is crucial to our success and longevity.
I'd like to add to the online "conversation" with lessons that I have learned in the trenches, for greater clarity, and so that you can become a "quick study" in cultivating and understanding yours.
Let's begin by defining what a "Tribe" is...
According to Merriam-Webster, "A Tribe is a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs."
In writing, our Tribe would be the individuals that comprise our "audience".
Folks that "speak our language," share our struggles, and often have similar views and goals.
That's my definition.
Author and popular blogger, Jeff Goins tells us in his book, Every Writer Needs a Tribe: "Tribes are inevitable. You have one whether you realize it or not. Tribes are how we live our lives. We are constantly banding together with other people to discuss ideas and share information."
Depending on where you are in your writing journey, (and your goals) you'll need the collective support of different groups behind you.
HERE ARE THREE IMPORTANT "TRIBE" CATEGORIES
AND WHY WE NEED THEM:
CHEERLEADERS AND MOTIVATORS:
Where would we be without them? In the infancy of my blogging career, I had about 12 people that followed this site. Just 12. Including my Avon lady and her cat. But, their faithful readership and periodic comments kept me going. 12 people grew into 100. 100 grew to 200. 200 grew to...well, you get the picture here. Regardless as to the numbers, cheerleading is crucial to staying the course.
WHY THEY MATTER:
They inspire. They are morale builders. They champion our causes. Share our struggles. They help to promote our work and get the word out about our blog, books, and projects. It's like having our own personal publicists. Their important role can never be denied. However, "cheerleaders" are not always investors.
Investors are "cheerleaders" who not only support us, but spend money. Think clients, advertisers and customers here.
They recognize our "value" and understand the concept of fair exchange. In other words, you provide a service or product that helps them to solve a problem, live better, or learn a skill, and they are more than willing to compensate you for your expertise and your efforts.
WHY THEY MATTER:
Investors "put their money where their mouth is." They help to validate us. They add to our quality of life by adding to our bottom line. They realize that just like other "professionals" writers need to feed their families, pay their bills, earn a living, etc.
For instance, I have "Tribe members" that almost never comment on this blog. But, when I release a book, conduct a class, or offer a service, you can bet yo' bottom dollar, they are the first in line to purchase. (God bless you.) :-)
Investors are crucial to economic survival and freelancing longevity. Without them our writing would be just a hobby, or an inexpensive alternative to professional therapy.
OFFLINE TRIBE MEMBERS:
This can include personal friends, family members, a prayer group, people at the local StarBucks or people we meet through our affiliation with membership organizations. They know you're a writer, they dig it, respect it, and are in awe of your creativity.
WHY THEY MATTER:
Often they make us feel like celebrities, right? If they could only see our bank account statements. Ha! These lovely folks attend our book signings, chat us up at coffee shops, share their stories with us, their time, their suggestions, their interest and enthusiasm for this way of life.
We are enriched and elevated by their good deeds, good wishes and kind words. They help us to remember why writing is important. How it touches people and changes lives. That it is a "healing art". And that we are so fortunate to be a part of the creative community.
They make us mindful that "real life," in-person connections are crucial to a well-rounded writing experience.
When it comes to support for writers, "three is a charm."
The above referenced 3 groups are all integral to a successful, satisfying, creative career.
By the way, for those interested, I have a few open slots, for those of you seeking to go from "cheerleaders" to "investors." :-)
How big is your "tribe?"
Do you agree or disagree with my findings?
Image Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net