Accepting the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature, Ernest Hemingway said, “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” He was, of course, one of America’s all-time literary giants. But, despite his adventurous lifestyle, he was a lonely man who, in the end, took his own life.
I disagree with his assumption that writing only comes to those who acquiesce to a lonely life. Creating literature begins long before the commitment of words onto paper or into computer. The very act of writing invites voices and characters into one’s mind that take on their own life. While writers need time alone to contemplate what is churning in their minds, interacting with the world is how writers spend most of their time.
One of the most helpful activities writers can – and should – engage in is connecting with other writers. Absorbing the energy of other creative minds, getting feedback on works in progress and getting support when progress feels thwarted pays off in big dividends: possibly financially, usually creatively, always emotionally.
Fortunately, the internet has broadened opportunities for writers to connect. From almost anywhere in the world, we can find similar-minded individuals and groups that meet in person or via the internet. Writing groups may specialize in a genre or be open to all literary forms. Some are free and some charge a fee.
One such group, Jane's Stories Press Foundation (JSPF), is an international organization promoting emerging and established women writers, focusing on women under 25, over 50, and women of color. Programs include online writing circles and an annual writers retreat. Member Kamala Sarma says, ” Jane’s Stories Press Foundation has helped greatly in unblocking the writer in me, truly liberating!”
The Off Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW) has offered a weekly group meeting in Winnetka, Illinois for more than 60 years. Writers gather to hear acclaimed speakers address every conceivable genre and hone their writing skills. OCWW president Brenda Rossini says, “We have thrived because of the program’s excellence, a focus on essential cogs in the writing wheel, and, most important, the bonhomie and creative exchanges amongst our speakers, members and guests.”
Midwest Writers Association (MWA) is a networking base for experienced, professional non-fiction writers. Although their members work across the media spectrum, many write books that benefit from the same interaction sought by fiction writers.
Meet-up groups for writers have popped up all over. Finding one that suits a writer’s particular interests is a mouse click away.
I would be happy to help promote any writers support group through my blog. If you lead one, please let me know by clicking on “Book●ed Revealed” at the top of this page and follow the contact link. Please provide details in the message section.
Writing, at its best, can be a lonely life. But it doesn't have to be.