Recently my local poetry group started meeting again (with proper precautions of course), and we critiqued poems about community. We also spent time discussing the state of communities now versus times past and how so much has changed due to current events. On my way home, I thought of how grateful I am for my writing community.
Writing is lonely work. Most days you sit by yourself, pen and paper in hand, computer screen aglow, waiting for the muse to send words your way. Lately, we’ve been stuck working at home, unable to enter a local library or coffee shop for a slight bit of social interaction. Even introverts like me, comfortable in our own cozy corners at home, have felt the weight of seclusion.
We may write alone, but we still need other writers. They provide encouragement, critique, and understanding of our shared craft we can’t get elsewhere. The most avid readers you know will never compare to fellow writers. Only they get the struggle of creating first drafts, the difficulty of trudging through edits, the paralyzing fear of rejection, and the joy of seeing your name in print.
I only became a member of a local writing group and a local poetry group at the end of last year. Before that, I didn’t know many writers, and we didn’t often talk about writing. Friends and family are supportive, but far from understanding. Having other more experienced writers who’ve been where I am now has made a significant difference in my writing life. They offer advice and encouragement when things get hard, and they hold me accountable if I slack off.
All writers should be part of a writing community. Whether it’s online, in town, or just a few friends meeting on occasion, find fellow writers. Treasure them. You may start your story alone, but you don’t have to finish it that way.