it can’t be said enough how important it is to have a writing community. If you are a writer you know the hardest work happens in those pre-dawn (or after dark hours), before/after work, kids, daily obligations… What an amazing event it is, though, when you are able to emerge from that writing chrysalis (or chamber, as it sometimes feels like) and share your work with others. That part isn’t always easy, either. But it is rewarding. If you don’t know what’s going on in your writing community, ask around. Look in your local independent papers. Go to venues and events and open mikes.
For me, the immersion in the Wilkes University Creative Writing program opened many doors for me locally. I’d been in the Wilkes-Barre area three years before I’d even tried to get involved in, or even realized, the fruitful creative community around me. Even if you’re a loner, go out and be social. There are other writers out there just like you, similar to you, or even wholly opposite. But any of those writerly neighbors around you can inform your work or connect you to someone else, or a good writing and/or reading opportunity.
Hearing the words, “I chose you because you’re a great writer and performer,” mean the world to me. I used to cry and get physically ill before grade school book reports. Sure, I loved to read. But to get up in front of my peers and present??? Never thought I’d relish it, but I do. And I do because of the creative supportive community around me.
It’s not surprising, really, how encouraging fellow writers can be. Some can be arrogant or competitive or exclusive. But for the most part, the ones I’ve been around, have been nothing but supportive. I jokingly called our group “Writers’ Anonymous” (I’ve written a poem about it, too.) But it’s not so much a joke. These are the people who listen to you, share your fears, lift you up and give you the courage–and opportunity–to shine.
If you are in the Wilkes-Barre area, you should check out this great site: http://570writers.com A great fantasy writer, Nathan Summerlin, saw the need to connect writers and inform them.
Go find your people, wherever they are! They are out there and waiting to welcome you.
Be well and write on,
P.S. And, for a moment of wow…after I was introduced at a reading this weekend, I approached the stage with one thought: “Wow. I really earned this moment.” My hope is that my reading exemplified that. Thank you to all my supporters and fellow readers and writers.