Those who know me personally know that I am a "people person". I love to surround myself with people who inspire me and encourage me. I love to laugh and share experiences. I love the feeling of "doing life together" with others.
That being said, writing is often thought of as a solitary endeavor...or so I thought up until this last week, after many hours of sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee, a glass of melted ice water and my imagination as my only companions. The key is to find the right kind of communities and use them to your advantage.
Where I have found support/inspiration over the last week:
1) My Critique Group. Perhaps the best advice I could have been given by an editor friend of mine was to join SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and join a Critique Group. My group only meets monthly, but we are also connected via email. We swap manuscripts and give constructive critiques, help authors brainstorm through difficult spots in their work, as well as provide support and encouragement. It is just a joy to meet with these folks once a month and share. I find myself feeling accountable to them and getting excited each time I bring something new to the table.
If anyone would like to contact me about joining my group, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to fill you in to the details.
2) My Writing Class. That's right! I joined a class at Gotham Writer's Workshop. My wish for the class is that it helps me focus on my writing weekly, while at the same time helping me to fine tune my work and expand my community. The class meets on Monday nights for 3 hours for 10 weeks. There are only 6 of us in the class which is perfect! I can't totally endorse it yet, as we have only met once so far...but stay tuned for my updates and keep your eyes peeled for writing classes in your areas.
3) Friends. And lastly, I have to mention friends. Most importantly my boyfriend, Jonathan, who always makes me feel like I can do anything! He has sat through constant revisions and read-throughs and always builds me up. I encourage everyone to find a few friends who just love reading. They don't have to writers or to know the craft. Just someone how knows you and would be willing to read through some of your stuff. Their reactions are priceless. While professionals will give you valuable critiques to help you better the work...your friends and loved ones will respond with smiles, laughter, tears, etc. And let me tell you, when you are feeling discouraged, it is these responses that will get you through and keep you moving forward.
Have a wonderful week, everyone! Seek out those creative communities. You are not alone!
Share any other insight you have below.
And of course, Happy Writing!