It Takes a Community …
I’ve written for years. In high school, I submitted poems and short stories to the literary journal. My best friend and I were always thinking up stories and critiquing each other’s work.
When I went to college, I put my writing to the side to concentrate on my studies. Every now and then I would write a poem or jot down a story idea, but I didn’t put a lot of work into it.
After I finished graduate school, I needed a break before I went into the workforce. I spent a couple of months reading every type of fiction and non-fiction books and writing. From that point on, I kept dabbling with writing. That’s when I started working on my first novel. I thought out story lines and plot twists. I developed characters. Even after I got a job, I kept plugging away on writing. Through ups and downs in my work and personal life, I held on tightly to my writing. But I did it alone.
It took me about fourteen years to realize I was missing something. I sought out a local writing group. It was there that I met my first local resident who had a book in the process of being published. That connection led to introductions to other published authors. Over time more people joined the group. People who were putting their work into the public in various ways.
When I kept my writing (and my other artistic endeavors) to myself, it was easy to become distracted. There is always something else that needs my attention – like that pile of clean clothes that has grown the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. Also, there’s the voice in my head telling me my writing isn’t good enough.
Being around other writers helps keep me focused. I see the challenges other writers face and they are still able to submit their work to publishers, to self-publish and to put their work into the public. If they can do it, I can do it too.
Over the last few years I’ve expanded my circle to include local artists, yoga instructors, and knitters. Each of them has taught me about writing, art, crafting, spirituality and embracing life. The bottom line is creativity sparks creativity.