Victory Fist Pump!

20 Jul


by Susan Dennard


So, the first round of the Nautilus Writing Workshop Writing for Young Adults came to a close last week. Sarah and I hope (and think!) our six diligent students learned a lot, but there’s one thing I’m absolutely certain they all came away with. I know it because I came away with it.

And that is this:

One of the most important pieces of your writing life is TO TALK about it with other writers.

This same maxim applies to other crafts–interior design, knitting, water colors, whatever. There’s really nothing that will motivate you to work, stimulate your creativity, or make you smile quite like talking about your art.

From sharing your experiences and dreams to discussing your toolbox to bemoaning your frustrations–you’ve just GOTTA talk about this stuff. But more importantly, you need to talk about it with someone who knows what the heck you mean.

It’s one thing to have your idea-bouncer-offer-person–someone I do believe we all need in our creative lives–but it’s quite another to have your writing buddy who knows the terms, the trials, and the terror.

So I’m coining a new phrase.

Victory Fist Pump Buddy: a person who is also a writer, and therefore knows just how freaking hard this whole writing biz can be. This person is qualified to Fist Pump over your victories and share a tissue over the roadblocks. This person actually knows what it takes.

I mean, we all know how it feels when you see that dude at the supermarket…


Oh, so you’re a writer?



Yeah, I just finished my first novel.


Awesome! When’s it come out?



Um, well…it doesn’t quite work that way.

Or how about this conversation?


I just got an agent! Oh my gosh, this is the happiest moment of my life!


(staring stupidly)

Why? Aren’t you the one that hires them?


No. It’s a really competitive thing–like, thousands of writers all have to send query letters and… Oh, what’s the point. Forget it

You throw your hands in the air and storm off.

Or maybe even this one:


Oh. My. Gosh. My book has SOOOOLD!


Sweet! I’ll go buy it! Does Amazon have it?



No, it takes an average of 2 years for a book to reach stores.



What? Why?


Because! That’s just how it works. And no, it is not a reflection on the quality of my book! I’m really proud of my novel.


Oh, well that’s still awesome! So your book will be the next Harry Potter, right?

You just roll your eyes and stalk away.

But then you have your writer buddy–your Victory Fist Pump Buddy who knows EXACTLY what you’re talking about. When you tell them that an agent requested a partial, they squeal with delight. When you groan over lack of self-motivation, they offer to keep you in check. When you feel like jumping off a bridge, they talk you down.

I never knew how much I was missing until a year ago, when I joined some online communities and suddenly felt connected–felt like I’d found people who really understood.

And since then, my relationships with other writers–the LTWF community, in particular–have grown stronger and more valuable. I can’t live without my Victory Fist Pump Buddies! Sorry to my husband, but when it comes to writing, your ever-willing-to-listen-ear just isn’t enough. I need someone who’s been there too! Someone who’ll nurture my creativity while also challenging it.

That said, I challenge YOU to find your own Victory Fist Pump Buddy. If you don’t already have one, go out and meet some other writers (online or in person) TODAY! If you do already have some buddies in your life, then drop ’em a line and tell them how much you appreciate having them around.

I appreciate all of you guys–all of you readers who leave us comments that let us know we’re not alone. I appreciate my fellow LTWF gals who answer my panicked or joyful emails with unwavering support and love.

So let’s all do it together in a super cheesy made-for-TV movie moment:

::victory fist pump::


Susan Dennard is a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She is repped by Sara Kendall of NCLit, and her debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, will be available from Harper Children’s in 2012. You can learn more about her on her blog or twitter.


33 Responses to “Victory Fist Pump!”

  1. Chelsea Beam July 20, 2011 at 5:01 AM #

    I giggled uncontrollably throughout this entire post. πŸ™‚
    *victory fist pump*

    Awesome job, Sooz!

    • Susan July 20, 2011 at 8:18 AM #

      Thanks, Chelsea!! And awesome job to YOU for reaching your deadline! WOOT. Revisions are freaking hard, so you should feel pretty darn proud of yourself. πŸ˜€

  2. Meredith July 20, 2011 at 7:41 AM #

    I love this post (and not just for the shout-out)! πŸ˜‰ We ALL need Victory Fist Pump Buddies because it’s so true that friends and family, no matter how well-meaning, just don’t understand the ins and outs and ups and downs of being a writer. Also, you forgot my favorite supermarket encounter:

    Me: Hey, I wrote a book!
    Dude: That’s great. Give me a free copy!
    Me: I will now resist the urge to smack you.

    • Susan July 20, 2011 at 8:19 AM #

      HAHAHA. Yes. Boy do we all know THAT encounter too. It’s like, “Sure, I’ll go print off a free copy for you from my computer, you DOLT.”

  3. Holly July 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM #

    Haha, I so love this post. I don’t know what I’d do without my writer buddies to both commiserate and fist pump with! It makes such a difference in the whole experience.

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:48 PM #

      So, SO true. What would I do without my writing buds?? I shudder at the thought… It’d probably involve a lot more ice cream and frowny faces in my day-to-day existence. πŸ˜‰

  4. Mac_V July 20, 2011 at 9:26 AM #

    *throws GIANT victory fist pump into the air* AWESOME post Sooz! Those conversations you made are SO true! People have no clue what I’m talking about with query letters and they definitely don’t understand why it takes so long to get a book published. It is so fantastic knowing people who understand those things so I can celebrate and be excited without having to EXPLAIN why I’m excited!

    And trust me, the Nautilus Workshop was probably the most helpful thing I’ve encountered in my life so far to help me with my writing. My writing has improved so much ALREADY, not to mention it’s given me a good kick in the butt to get back into writing every day again. I cannot thank you and Sarah enough for putting it on and for giving all of us so much of your time. You girls are seriously THE BEST!

    ❀ ❀ ❀

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:49 PM #

      Awww–I am SO glad to read you liked the workshop. Truly, I am elated we could help get your writing back in gear!!!


  5. Stacy Green July 20, 2011 at 11:45 AM #

    *Big fist pump!*
    Having the support of other writers is so important. No one can understand what you’re going through like a fellow writer, and they definitely have no idea what it takes to get a book published. The online writing community is an amazing place!

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:51 PM #

      I agree! The online writing community helped me so much–and so many of those writers have turned into my real life friends!!

  6. Stephanie Relf July 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM #

    I find that I get asked “So will you write a character called (insert speakers name here)?”. They the proceed to look really offended when I say no! *sigh*

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:52 PM #

      Yeah, it’s like, “Um sorry, but NO I have no need for a character named after YOU because then I’ll have to write them like YOU and you kinda suck…” πŸ˜‰

  7. Amity July 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM #

    Victory Pump yeah!!!

    I love these posts. They’re so positive. I’ve felt lately that most the blogs I follow (and have now un-followed) are depressing – stores closing, evil publishers taking our money and our rights, let’s all self-publish, self-promote or die, etc… But not your posts! Even when you tackle difficult topics, like depression, you address them in positive ways.

    It’s good for authors to let out steam. It’s unhealthy to deny that we have down moments and anxieties. We need to know our experiences are a shared thing, that we are not isolated. But instead of wallowing, we need to turn them to something positive. And we need to remember to celebrate ALL of the good things.

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:54 PM #

      Shucks! Thanks, Amity!!! I agree that what we need is to let out steam to other writers–and to gush! One of my friends recently went on subs, and the instant she told me, I SCREAMED (happily), but no one else reacted because no one else understood what a milestone it is!!

  8. Myra July 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM #

    I used to fist pump ironically. Now I do it shamelessly.

    But in all seriousness… awesome post. πŸ˜€ *fistpumpin’*

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:55 PM #

      No shame in the fist pump!! Especially not when it’s for Writing Triumphs!!! Though…you can still do it ironically if you so choose. πŸ˜‰

  9. Heather July 20, 2011 at 4:36 PM #

    I love this post so much. I don’t know what I would do without my Victory Fist Pump Buddies! *fist pump*

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:55 PM #

      Fist pump!!! I so agree–if I didn’t have those peeps I’d literally fall apart… That, or I’d drive my husband completely mad. πŸ˜€

  10. Katelyn L July 20, 2011 at 4:48 PM #

    Yes, Sooz!!! I love this post soooo much! Talking with nonwriters is just not the same, you are so right about that. They’re plenty supportive, but they don’t get it the way writers do.

    And Nautilus was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer. I can’t thank you and Sarah enough. You taught me tons, and I already think my writing is way better. Plus, I’ve spent more time on SHATTERHEART over the past few days than I have in ages, and it feels so good. πŸ™‚


    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:57 PM #

      Shatterheart–I just LOVE that title!! And you can’t ever know how GLAD it makes me to hear you’re inspiration has come back so strong–you CAN DO IT!!! I know you can. πŸ˜€

      Fist pump!!

  11. lastleigh July 20, 2011 at 6:44 PM #

    OMG. TESTIFY. Love this post.

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:56 PM #

      OMG. Love your picture. And you. ❀

  12. Hannah July 21, 2011 at 1:14 AM #

    I completely understand and agree.
    In fact, I am in need of a writer friend (someone love meeeeeeee).
    Just kidding.
    But seriously.

    • Susan July 25, 2011 at 11:58 PM #

      Hahaha–I know the feeling of neeeeeeeding lurve. That’s what LTWF is for!!! It’s such a great place to connect with other writers!! πŸ˜€

  13. katharine owens July 21, 2011 at 2:44 PM #

    So true Sooz–

    • Susan July 26, 2011 at 12:06 AM #

      Fist pump, Kat!! ❀

  14. Monica "Choppy" Nguyen July 21, 2011 at 9:38 PM #

    oooh gosh. came at just the right moment! haha. I kept smiling while reading the post and i caught myself thinking “I KNOW!” and nodding my head. Most of my friends who dont understand about the writing biz tend to stay away from the topic, but the example convos you just put in WAS EXACTLY the type of conversations i had with my mom not long ago. It got frustrating because she just wasn’t getting it.

    I really love my fictionpress community. Some I became really good friends with. They’re my go-to for writing rants and cheers. Actually, a bunch of us from the fp forum will be doing an all-nighter writing session, chatting it up on AIM as we try to keep each other awake. Just for the fun of it. And see, they are the only ones who understand how excited i am to do this. My family just looks at me all confused when i told them. haha

    • Susan July 26, 2011 at 12:07 AM #

      Oy, Monica–that sounds familiar! My family has gradually learned the words and basics of the publishing world, but…yeah, everyone else in the world remains clueless and disinterested. Whenever I TRY to explain, their eyes glaze over and I give up. πŸ˜€

      Your FP friends sound great! I love doing the chat-while-writing sessions–sprints and word-count goals are so fun in that context!! Good luck!!! πŸ˜€

  15. Liz Hellebuyck July 22, 2011 at 11:48 PM #

    This is so great. I know exactly what you mean (Victory fist pump!).

    I have a few victory fist pump people in my crit group. I don’t mind explaining the process to outsiders, but it is also great to have people who just know.

    • Susan July 26, 2011 at 12:08 AM #

      I don’t mind explaining the process, but I frequently find people are either 1) not interested (eyes glaze over!!) or 2) not believing me (like they are convinced I’m just making it more complicated than it really is). ::sigh::

      Fist pump!! πŸ˜€

  16. Lara Dunning July 25, 2011 at 9:10 PM #

    That is so true. When I first got on Twitter a whole new world that I could connect to opened up. In many ways it changed my life as a writer. I have learned to understand the value of that writer buddy. A writer friend of mine and I started a Writers Group in town. It has been wonderful and members often say, this is helping me keep going or inspiring me to write. Very rewarding.

    • Susan July 26, 2011 at 12:09 AM #

      Oh that’s SO wonderful! Live friends in your own town that are writers–I am completely jealous! And yes, Twitter has been great for me. Blogging (and LTWF!) too!!

  17. hannahkarena July 27, 2011 at 9:08 AM #

    It’s really frustrating when all you want to do is complain about rejection letters, words, and the extreme difficulty of attracting a literary agent but you have to explain the whole process to those very wonderful but confused “ever-willing-to-listen-ear” family members first. Defining terminology while I’m ranting or celebrating kind of ruins the whole moment. So yey for victory-fist-pump friends!

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