Sunday, August 8, 2010

This room is getting crowded

I know, both from reading and experience, that writing is a solitary occupation.

I suppose that is true enough. Only one person can sit in a chair and face that computer screen (or typewriter, or pencil and tablet if that is your preferred method of getting your thoughts into some kind of solid format).

And it's true no one else can get into your mind and help you come up with your ideas in the first place.

Nevertheless, I've discovered that there is a lot about writing that is done in and with the company of others.

For one thing, I have had support for over 20 years from the Anson County Writers' Club. The irony is that I started the club because of the very quote I used at the beginning of this blog -- I was lonely and wanted to meet other writers. Our meetings include Open Mic and I enjoy hearing what others have written as well as feedback on my efforts.

Then there is my e-mail critique group. Two I've met in person; the other lives on the west coast. We share our writing and help each other over the rough spots, cheer each other on and act as sounding boards for new ideas.

I also joined the Carolina Romance Writers. We meet in Charlotte once a month and enjoy a speaker or workshop that provides helpful knowledge as well as motivation. There is also the opportunity to talk to other writers and get advice.

To belong to this chapter group, you first have to belong to the national -- Romance Writers of America. The RWA just had a convention in Orlando. I couldn't go, but a CRW member posted a daily blog that made me feel as if I were there. And, the monthly magazine is filled with news and tidbits about writers I almost feel are friends.

Then there are the people who post blogs, newsletters, e-columns, Facebook pages and, I suppose, Tweets if I knew where to look for them. Sometimes this much "company" can get overwhelming. I have to shut down the voices clamoring for my attention and concentrate on getting my manuscript as perfect as possible before submitting it.

Yes, writing is solitary. but the business of writing doesn't have to be. Sometimes it can get downright crowded.

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