This past Saturday I had the privilege of attending a winter writer’s retreat with six fellow authors. The day was spent brainstorming, critiquing, participating in exercises and in prayer. Somewhere around midday one of the ladies made a statement, one that hit closer to home than I realized it would:
One of the most important things we can do as a writer, is to not give up meeting together.
What’s the big deal, you say? Well, there are a few reasons it is a big deal. Here’s why every writer should be bold enough to get connected to a group.
To be Understood: It was just about two years ago that I myself stretched beyond my comfort zone and decided to attend my first Lancaster Christian Writer’s meeting – a monthly support group that features a speaker and fellowship/critique time. I didn’t really want to go, but my husband heard about it and encouraged me to attend. I figured I’d go to one and then that would get him off my back and I wouldn’t need to go again. So I went and discovered something I didn’t expect: how good it would feel to be among others like me. Yes, the speaker was great – I took notes and couldn’t wait to tackle them when I got home. And no, I don’t think I remembered even one name of any of the people I’d met that day. But there was something about just being with others like myself that made me feel accepted.
Accountability: Another way of connecting has been through online groups. I’m part of an ACFW writing email group, as well as an editing group under the same umbrella. Here I’m connected with people from all over the country, of all ages, and experience levels. We report with our daily numbers of how many words we’ve written or how many pages we edited. Again, just being part of something like this has helped me to become more consistent with my writing and editing. If the day has passed and I haven’t taken time to write or edit, I know that someone else will notice. And this helps light a fire under me, during those times when procrastination threatens to win out.
To Grow: Scribes Oasis is a weekly group that has become quite an encouragement to me over the past six months. When we gather together we find time to write, to pick one another’s brains, and we often pass along our projects for critique from one another. It’s here that I’ve learned things about changes within the writing industry, blogging trends, and have even been able to connect with other writers or contests I would never have stumbled upon, otherwise. Again, my writing has changed ten-fold just from the experience of getting to work with this group of ladies.
I’m about to move in a few months, and I have no idea how this will affect my ability to meet with other writers. But what I do know is that one of the first things I will do when we arrive wherever we’re headed (see this post if you’re curious where) is to find a group or two that I can connect with and settled in. Because sitting down and writing isn’t enough. Not for creative minded people that would love nothing more than to lose hours painting or making music or dancing on the beach. We are creative, and because of this we also tend toward depression and holing up in a room for days at a time with no outside contact. And I just. can’t. do. that. It’s not good for my writing and it’s not good for me.
So no matter where I end up or what road my life may take, I will seek to continue to meet with others. Because it is good.
Happy reading, friends!