Saturday, September 10, 2016

Your Writing Community

Writing is a lonely business. A butt-in-seat, fingers-on-keyboard, tuning-out-the-world lifestyle filled with rejection and uncertainty. So, despite often being viewed as an occupation for introverts, the fact is that writers need community, perhaps more than most.

This morning, I was reminded of a what a lift one's community can offer. I attended this year's first meeting of KCLS Woodinville's Second Saturdays Writing Workshops, a series I have the pleasure of helping to curate. I arrived at the library, saw the welcoming face of Youth Services Librarian Pam, walked into the aptly named Community Room and there they were: Faces, familiar and new, all excited to put pen to paper.

Guided by the smart and charming Trudi Trueit, we spent two hours exploring the development of strong characters. We shared and were afraid to share. We talked about our summers. We laughed, hysterically and ruefully. We admitted our attraction to Jean-Luc Picard as well as (in ways overt and subtle) our mutual dream of publishing our work. Then we packed up our notebooks and trickled out of the classroom, a little bit more hopeful, more inspired--less lonely. Ready to write armed with new tips and words of encouragement.

Writing community isn't only found in one's hometown. While I don't belong to a critique group, I have several writing colleagues with whom I meet semi-routinely to share work and life stories (you know who you are, Deb, Sara, Susan!). I have my local chapter of SCBWI, with its classes, retreats, and conferences. And, though I don't believe it is a substitute for real human interaction, I have writer friends with whom I communicate largely via email or social media and who offer advice and support.

I had been feeling discouraged this week but getting out of the house to interact with members my beloved community lifted me up.  It can work for you, too. It is INTENSELY WORTH IT to summon the courage to schedule that coffee with a fellow writer, go to that class, even just reply to a post on Facebook. Let your community be there for you - and show it your thanks by producing wonderful work.