Writing can be a solitary undertaking, and for years I have enjoyed that aspect. I am, after all, an introvert, so I don’t mind the quiet time to myself. And I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a local writing group for nearly four years, so that’s provided a good amount of feedback and encouragement.
Lately though, and I’m really quite surprised to find myself saying this since I think I could be quite happy as a hermit, I’ve been thinking about writing communities. A lot. It crept it’s way into my post last week. I find I keep writing about it in comments I leave on other blogs. And to top it all off, I am smack in the middle of creating one in my own community and even on this site.
And to be honest, it’s great, it’s wonderful, and I wonder why I’ve been hiding from it all this time. I kind of feel like a flower who received a little sun once a week, and now I’ve discovered I can be out in the sun all the time and flourish. For years, I’ve been secretly wondering where all the other writers in my community hang out. Where does one go to find out about local writing events? I’d search online, but rarely find a posting in time to attend an event, or I’d find an event that occurred the month before. So I adopted the “build it and they will come” approach.
I didn’t realize it, but there was part of me who couldn’t fathom creating something to fill this void I’d been feeling in my own community. I thought, surely someone else more qualified than myself would organize something to gather all these amazing writers in town, and I’d stumble upon the group one day, join, and then I’d know what other writers were up to and where all the events were happening. But four years passed, and I never found what I was looking for.
Then, that fiery passion I have for writing, and that deep desire to help other people sparked an idea. It started simple enough, I asked my writing group if they’d like to come up with a name for our group, so that one day maybe we could help facilitate some writing events in our community. At the very least, I thought we could be a hub for other writers who didn’t belong to a writing group. They could come to us, we could put them in touch with other writing groups looking for new members. Voicing these ideas out loud was all I needed for them to spark into larger projects.
For starters, I’ve long wanted a poetry slam in my community. The closest one is about a forty-five minute drive from here, which isn’t bad, but it’s not fun to drive back home at 11 o’clock at night. I think we have enough authors here to support a literary open mic. It creates an event that supports more than just poets. I started a Facebook group to gather the writers in my town, so we can share local writing events, create connections with other authors, find writing groups and beta readers, and support and encourage each other. Eventually, I’d like to have a quarterly event that brings this community together in person, so we are more than names on a screen.
I’ve learned over the years that while the writing process can feel like a lonesome one, it actually thrives in a community. When the days come when I’m filled with doubt, a community is encouraging and will bolster me until I regain my confidence. And it is such a special privilege to do the same for other authors. I can see so clearly another writer’s ability and future potential, even when they are on the brink of calling it quits.
The thing I know, is that anyone of these projects I’m putting into motion requires a community to pull off. I hope that by gathering other writers who have a similar vision (because believe me, I couldn’t do it alone) that each writer who joins will feel invested in seeing the community succeed and will take ownership and help keep it going.
I think I’ll take this lesson into the future with me. I will try to create what is needed to fill a gap in the writing community. My hope is that others will be drawn to these projects and help them succeed.
Tell me, what do writers do in your community? Is there something missing from your writing community? Do you think you could be the spark that ignites the passion for writing and put something in motion to bring your community together? What about an online writing community? Where do you like to go to connect with other writers?