Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Writing Friends

We all know the value of having friends.  True friends are hard to come by, and I am sure we all cherish them in our own way.  With some of friends, we share some of our deepest, darkest secrets. Usually, we can expect to talk about anything under the sun with them.

For writers, friendships tend to be a little different.   

We all have our non-writing friends, who know we write, but we don't talk shop with them. Even my husband, who is my best friend/lover/rock/enemy/ shoulder-to-cry-on/stressball/lamaze-coach, etc., will just sit there and politely listen, until his eyes glaze over, as I talk about how difficult it was to get out of my narrator's head after a writing session.  Or how a character decided to walk in on a scene and take over.  Or how I wound up completely lost when I decided to follow that plot bunny that just decided to hop on by.  
   
Our non-writing friends simply don't get what goes on in our heads.  It's not that they don't care.  It's just not part of their personal experience.  We certainly can't fault them for that.
   
So we writers have to seek out our own tribe.  This is where belonging to a writing community comes in.  Writing, in itself, is a very solitary act.  We certainly write by ourselves.  But, that doesn't mean you have to be lonely. 
   
Having writing friends gives you the opportunity to exchange ideas with someone who has the same mindset as you.  I recently had a wonderful opportunity to walk around Center City Philadelphia with a writing friend.  With her help, I saw the city in a way I never have before. 
   
She understood why I walked through a courtyard of apartments in Old City, and sat down on a bench for a few moments.  She didn't batt an eyelash when I tried to peek through the front window of a row house that had a For Sale sign in front of it.  She pointed out which bar one of my characters would most likely go into in search of a meaningless moment of bliss.  A writing friend would understand that there are things you would like to experience, and allow you to do it.
   
A writing friend will understand your excitement over cracking open an brand new Moleskine journal. Or why you'd hand him/her a crummy ballpoint pen instead of your Uniball Signo 207 gel pen, for fear of not getting it back.  (Um...  That's just me, isn't it?)
   
One way of meeting some like-minded individuals is by joining a local writing group.  It may take a few visits to several groups to find the group that fits you best.  So be patient.  Check your local library to see if there are any writing groups that meet there.  Your local Barnes and Noble will quite possibly have one that meets at the store on a regular basis.  You can also go online. I found my current writing group on Meetup.com.  Hopefully, if there isn't a group in your town, there should be one in the general area.
   
There are also online communities.  Scribophile is the one I first joined.  Online communities can be tricky, because people typically hide behind the cloak of anonymity the internet provides.  Critique (I use this term loosely) can be harsh when given in person.  What more if given anonymously?  So if you go this route, you may wish to have a tougher skin. Or really slippery skin, that everything just rolls off your back.
   
I would never give up my non-writing friends for the world.  By no means am I saying that writing friends are better than non-writing ones.  Just having some, can make such a difference in the already insane world we have been called to live in.

4 comments:

  1. The internet (and Blogger specifically) was the best invention ever for writers. They couldn't have designed a better means for creative introverts to connect. :)

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  2. True--my life and my writing life are much richer since I found other writers to interact with!

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  3. It's been great having writing friends who just get it.

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Thank you so much for your kind comments.