I live in isolation. Not in jail. Not in the Yukon. But in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I am surrounded by mountains running along the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. I am writer who is friend starved and I’m not happy about it. Or at least can now say was not happy about it. A few days ago, six of us ladies got together. I was beaming the entire hour drive to the hostess’s house. The feeling of isolation dissipated. Yet I was scared and nervous.
I have been praying for two years that I could connect with other writing and not have to travel ninety miles or more. I was eager to share ideas, writing topics, marketing tips and lunch. Anything! I was so thrilled to finally meet with other Christian ladies who write. I didn’t care what they wrote, just that they put pen to paper, or finger tips to key pads. A few of us are authors and some are bloggers with much to say not only about writing and marketing, but about life. Hard, cold life.
So I have come up with 5 reasons it is essential for writers to be in a group. It is as important as air is to lungs. At least for me.
1. New friendships are forged. We learned so much about one another. Not only about writing, but of life issues. Many of the bloggers I met share with their readers about struggles they dealt with in the past or are dealing with today. How to overcome. How to survive. New relationships I learned are just as important if not more.
2. Sharing is the key that opens the door to growth: marketing tips, web sites and the like. We had all attended the same Inland Northwest Christian Writer’s Conference last March and met up at the end of the conference. Some already had friendships started. Others of us are now creating new friendships. It was so encouraging to share what works and what isn’t in terms of marketing.
3. Bits and pieces of our work can be shared and critiqued. We didn’t get as far as critiquing those pieces of work, but were able to hear a sample of a writer’s first book. It is so rich in culture and style. I can’t wait to read more. I am so excited for her.
4. Suggestions are born. A mini-retreat, so to speak, is now in the works. A weekend this fall where we can get together and share, critique and learn. Ideas popped up and the mill began to turn.
5. Finally, encouragement and fellowship I found is a must. There are more writers out there who are just as afraid of having their work reviewed as I am. Yet I now realize they are pulling for me as I am pulling for them. We all want to cheer on the other as dreams sneak closer toward our reach.
Being around other writers has filled my soul full of the nourishment it so craved. I feel renewed. I feel refreshed. I feel like I need to jump into the unfinished manuscript of my fourth book and be ready to share and learn at our October retreat. I will be ready.
Are you in a writer’s group? If not, I urge you to close your computer and search one out. Create one if you have to. Don’t stop until you find a group that fits your needs. How have you been inspired by being around other writers and their gifts?