I guess you can be a writer on your own without the support and friendship of others writers, it’s just harder…and not as much fun.

I was introduced to someone recently who is almost finished writing her first book.  She was eager to speak to another writer, someone who speaks the same language.  I listened as she explained her book’s premise and fielded her questions, as best I could, on writing courses and next steps.  But she wasn’t part of a critique group.  I thought back to when I was in her position. It wasn’t long ago, exactly a year since I joined the online writing group at Kelley Armstrong’s forum. I’d finished a book six months prior and didn’t know anyone who wrote, knew nothing of the industry, little fish in a big pond.  But connect with other writers who know how hard it is to get published, who understand writing, who will listen to your rants and suddenly the pond feels smaller – or at least more manageable.

Then there’s the critique itself.  I won’t even read my original first draft anymore (yet somehow can’t bring myself to delete it).  I never imagined how much my writing could change and improve once I let my words loose in the hands of other writers.  But how can you tell someone whose baby is about to be born after a long labour that the hard work is just beginning? Tough one.

Then there’s blogging and twitter. More community, more support, more connections to the world I love. All those writerly types out there who share a passion and commitment.  So I ask myself…the legendary authors of the classics, the ones who wrote before the age of the internet…how did they do it without the resources we have now?  Somehow they managed, it probably just wasn’t this much fun.

10 Responses to Community

  1. LOL,
    I think they did meet in groups but at the local pub. Look at The Inklings as an example.

    Have to agree with your thoughts on how much your writing improves. I really need to get back into the swing of things and start resubmitting to the OWG.

    • Yeah I guess the pub could be fun too 🙂 It’s just so easy when like minded people are only the click of the keyboard away. Thanks for visiting, Gareth.

  2. I think Gareth is right. I read A Moveable Feast by Hemingway recently and he talks about meeting up with other writers in pubs and cafes and sharing their wisdom and critique. Like you, I would be lost if it weren’t for Kelley’s amazing forum and the friends I’ve made on Twitter. It is a specail kind of magic to connect with others who share your passion.

  3. I really enjoyed this. I found it so relatable and believe I feel the same as you about that first piece I posted and shared, won’t part with it, yet I don’t want to look at it. Funny how much you can learn in such a short time with ‘a little help from your friends’. I completely enjoyed this post and the fact that you’ve said what I’ve felt since joining OWG. Thanks! 🙂

  4. An open and insightful post. The people I’ve met through OWG are helpful, passionate, and honest (not always an easy trait to live with, but necessary if you want to improve).

    Joining a crit-group was the kick start my writing needed- and they haven’t finished working on me yet! 🙂

  5. I’m with Gareth and Danni. I think they met at pubs and and cafes, favorite places to share in food and beverage, talking about their ideas and challenges.
    I’ve learned so much from the Kelley Armstrong OWG too. It’s been invaluable.

  6. Ah misery does loves its company. 😉 I have met so many great pals through the OWG. I tried a local group that meets, but, alas, no realy skill/talent no growth, bunch of old biddies wanting to write bios. 😛 all well and good but i needed to LEARN. 🙂

  7. I love my OWG – it takes a village to raise a writer! And if I could borrow one of your wishes, I’d jump in that time machine and sit in on Tolkien, Lewis, and Carroll’s pub house writer sessions.

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