Writing and Cyber Friendships

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One thing I love about our online community is the instant connections, the immediacy of communication regardless of distance. I have cyber friends in places throughout the world I’ve never been except via my computer.

There is an illusion of personal friendship based on non-existent real time associations. How strange! I care about the hardships and heartache in the lives of people I’ve never met… care enough to shed tears, to pray with fervor on their behalf.

A recent message from author Jane Kirkpatrick invoked those feelings. I’ve read Jane’s books, exchanged occasional e-mail and blog comments with her, but we’ve never met. And yet news of her husband’s lacunar infarction [stroke] brought me to tears.

Two years ago I posted words that return to me now: “With [imagination] the writer’s mind creates people who don’t exist, places that have never been, events that didn’t happen, and somehow combines them to create a world that readers accept as real.” But Jane and Jerry Kirkpatrick exist, as do my other cyber friends. They matter to me because their written words have made them a reality in my life.

That is the power of words. It’s what we strive for in our novels, too — to create characters and situations that become real and matter to our readers. We want them to care about the outcome.

Jane and Jerry aren’t fictional. This is a painful interlude in their lives. It is also a stress-filled work time for Jane as she has a new book being released this month. In addition to her books Jane maintains three blogs, one of which is her “Words of Encouragement”. It is a place where Jane offers “insights… and an intimate look” into her life as a writer. Her recent entry brings us her concerns as a wife. Perhaps you’d consider travelling to visit her via cyberspace; click over to Bend, Oregon and offer her your own words of encouragement as a fellow writer.

In what ways have cyber associations and friendships affected you?

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14 thoughts on “Writing and Cyber Friendships

  1. Laura Best says:

    One thing I never thought would happen when I started my blog was that I’d meet such wonderful people whom I would later consider friends. We definitely do become involved. I’ve come to appreciate the encouragement I receive from others in the blogging community and the chance to get to know the ones(like you, Carol) who comment on my blog.

  2. A.M. Kuska says:

    I met my husband online. As you can imagine, cyber friendships have changed my life in rather large ways. 😉

  3. Jennie Dugan says:

    We’ve said the same thing, that we can’t believe how many friends we’ve made around the world, and yet haven’t met them at all. One friend wrote the most touching letter of where she was when she read our book and how it affected her. We want to use it on our site, because it said so much, but it’s so warmly personal, it would feel like we were posting a private letter. In time, we may ask her permission, but I guess it shows how much we care about her feelings, even though we haven’t met.
    And we LOVE hearing from our writers, what they’re doing, what else they’re involved in, their latest project.
    It’s amazing, isn’t it?

  4. I may not know, in person, the people I communicate with online, but I feel as much for many of them as I do for people I personally know. There is a similar variation in closeness in my personal and Internet relationships (taking note that there is some difference in a virtual hug and a real one 🙂 of course). Like you, I pray for my blogging friends and acquaintances. I am not surprised by your compassion toward Jane Kirkpatrick and her husband in their time of trouble. I will visit and leave my condolences. Knowing that someone you care about is suffering is reason enough for me to care, too. Blessings to you, Carol…

  5. Wow. I never dreamed the Lord would do this through blogging. I thought I’d share my thoughts, read some others’ musings, learn some stuff. But I’ve gained some very deep, real friendships via blogging. Two of the ladies I’ve come to love I talk to on the phone regularly; one I’ve met; the other I’m going to meet in August! So, it’s real friendship, not just a cyber thing.

    I did not know that about Jane. How sad. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. joylene says:

    Wonderful tribute to our community of cyber-friends, Carol. I feel exactly the same way. Life has changed because of you and all my blogging friends, and it will never be the same again. God Bless.

  7. I too have met so many wonderful people online through Christian writing groups, organizations such as ACFW. And I suppose as writers, we’re able to express our feelings in an email almost as well as if we were having coffee together. But it’s been a dear friend who I met through a writing loop that has become my writing critique partner. It’s Rachel Moore’s help that has got me to the point of seeing my debut novel coming out this year. Thank you Rachel for helping me with SHADOWED IN SILK.

  8. It’s interesting that the dictionary defines ‘cyberspace’ as an imagined place where electronic data goes, and a virtual reality, and yet has no definition for ‘cyber friend’. I suppose it’s because they couldn’t really say people are imagined beings. LOL. Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts.

  9. Several people I’ve met online have become friends I can rely on for sharing prayer concerns, as well as for encouragement in my writing. I enjoy keeping up with what’s going on in their lives as much as I do people I know in the “real” world. There are many more that I don’t know as well, but enjoy socializing with on blogs and forums. I would miss them all if I couldn’t access the Internet for a prolonged period!

  10. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting a couple of online friends over the years after years of chatting online. You really do feel like you’re meeting someone you’ve bonded with. It’s an incredible feeling…and there’s also a very warm feeling that comes from seeing people join together to support someone when tragedy strikes. Jane is in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Billy Coffey says:

    As much as it surprises me to say this, some of my deepest and most heartfelt friendships are with people I only recognize through their avatars and blog posts. Never, ever thought that would be the case.

    Great post, Carol.

  12. I agree with Billy. And some of these are folks I might not have connected with at all in real life. But so many now have taken up space in my heart. And what a joy to have met some face-to-face and grown even closer.

    I don’t know Jane, but I’m going to go meet her now.

  13. Sandra, the Internet really does expand our pool of potential friends, exposing us to people with similar interests that we wouldn’t necessarily meet in our everyday communities.

    Billy, I’ve made a few special friends, too. While there are also bots and trolls out there, with a bit of common sense and intuition in place, I’ve been blessed by most of my encounters.

  14. Anon says:

    She is a great author!

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