Note: This blog was updated on March 5, 2021
Humans are social by nature…or at least that’s what I’ve always heard. Me, maybe not so much. I am, after all, a writer, and writers spend much of their time working in their own private spaces, in their own heads, plugging along at a solitary pursuit.
There is no meeting co-workers at the coffee machine or water cooler. No after-hours get-together–probably because their hours of work can vary so drastically depending on life commitments, when the muse comes to call, or that pesky day job which, more often than not, pays the bills.
This kind of existence can often lead to anxiety, writer’s block and plain old loneliness. Meeting with a group of people who understand and who share the same love of the written word can be inspiring and uplifting and often leads to elevation of the craft itself.
I found what I needed with a particular group of ladies (sisters of the soul, perhaps?) who are known as the Poc-o-no Lehigh Writers Group. We are, in essence, a family, bound by similar goals, the ability to share thoughts and advice and knowledge, and a friendship that is both earthbound and transcendent.
Before the pandemic we met monthly at the library. We would show up with snacks to share (some of which were particularly decadent) and, after spending fifteen minutes or so catching up with our personal lives, would get down to work. Not nose-to-the-grindstone work, but the work of give and take, of listening to a request for plotting help and providing feedback, of paying attention to a presentation regarding such things as marketing, the best way to prepare a blurb or a query letter, with questions during and afterward. We shared news regarding our writing efforts and commiseration when they might not have come to fruition. Sometimes we would read aloud the first chapter of a work-in-progress (which could be hilarious) or show off a newly minted book just received from our publishers or the printer. Occasionally, we would have guest speakers, from writers whose names are well known to the general public to an extremely entertaining presentation on cyber security.
Since the pandemic, we have not met in person. We all sorely miss the camaraderie and input. However, we still play catch up on Facebook and there are posts to be enjoyed on Instagram. The day we can return to our library gathering will be a great one for all and I will certainly revel in the company of my talented group members.
So here are my ten reasons why I believe writers should flock together, even if it’s only once a month:
1. Social interaction
2. Idea exchange
3. Goal setting
4. Plotting assistance
5. Subtle or mind-blowing inspiration
6. Fresh eyes
8. Expanding your craft
9. News shared with someone who understands how very hard it was for you to reach that point
10. And, ultimately, lasting friendships
If you are a solo writer out there (as most of us are, except those who have partnered up with someone for a joint venture), seriously consider checking into a local group and joining. Some groups are immense in numbers, while others, like ours, are almost cozy in nature.
If one group is not your cup of tea, feel free to move on to another until you find one that assists you toward your writing goals. Along the way you’re bound to discover the best reward of all: new friends.