Tomorrow afternoon will be the first meeting of the Writing Circle I’m starting in the Houston/Galveston area, and I’m beyond excited. The group is comprised of both old and new friends, including a high school classmate I have not seen for 20+ years. Our ages span from the 30s to the 80s. Just thinking about the stories that can be told by these ladies motivates me to be the best facilitator I can be, and also to be the best writer I can be.
This week I have also submitted four proposals for regional and national writing center conferences. And as I contemplate the possibilities for travel and meeting other professionals in my field, scattered from Las Vegas to Montana to New York, I wonder what new strategies for my students and tutors I can glean from these gatherings; I also wonder how enlightening my own experiences will be for them, and what we can all learn from each other.
What is it about the fellowship of other writers that is so darned exciting?
Whether we write for a living or for ourselves, we often do much of what we do in isolation. The camaraderie with fellow writers is difficult to achieve. As the supervisor of a college writing center, my staff and I are somewhat of our own island. We have fascinating conversations amongst ourselves that no one else on campus would give two shakes of a stick to listen to. And in terms of my personal writing, there are very few people I trust to share it with, so that circle of collaboration is even smaller, tighter, and harder to break through.
But being in the presence of other writers, whether it be the online relationship through Story Circle Network or the professional conferences I attend, encourages me in ways that are difficult to explain to non-writers.
Writers need fellow writers for encouragement, accountability, and inspiration. I recently attended a one day workshop in Austin at The Writing Barn. This Write Away Day gave writers an opportunity to meet and greet, but
also to write in quiet and solitude for an entire day. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I settled into a comfortable chair, plugged in my laptop, and simply wrote, for six straight hours. In those six hours I added about 6,000 words to my novel, I edited several shorter essays, and I simply relished in the presence of other like-minded people.
Yes, I drove 3 ½ hours to spend 6 hours writing, then drove 3 ½ hours home. My husband found it something between laughable and nerdish. And that’s okay. I’ve long accepted the fact that other people just don’t get it.
So I’ll be anxiously awaiting feedback on those proposals, and anxiously awaiting the first Writing Circle meeting tomorrow. And I know I will come away from both experiences a little more certain that yes, I’m a writer, and I have good things to say. Because my fellow writers will say so.
Lisa is a community college writing center supervisor, an adjunct writing instructor at a local university, and a freelance writer. She lives in Santa Fe, Texas, and enjoys traveling and crochet. She looks forward to the day when she can live in a little house in the woods, in the middle of nowhere. Visit her website.