Writing is a solitary task. Eventually we must sit down with our writing tools and our mind and get those words out. Having a writing community supports the work we do when we sit down by ourselves.
The word community comes from the Old French for with or together + gift. The gift of coming together. This is similar to the Mastermind concept, that Napoleon Hill wrote about in his book Think and Grow Rich. When people come together for a common purpose, there is an extra mind that is created that helps and supports each member: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Community is part of that special infusion of creativity that you feel after attending a writing workshop. It is a space to share challenges and successes, get suggestions for difficult situations, experiment with new methods, and share your obsession with a particular kind of pen and paper. The people in your writing community understand the joy and pain of writing and cheer you on.
We’ve heard examples of famous writers creating communities, be they impromptu or intentional. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein during a wet summer in Switzerland while hanging out with other writers. Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and Lytton Strachey had the Bloomsbury Group. The Inklings included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. A writing community is a safe place to experiment, discuss the craft, and get encouragement.
We experienced the power of community in a recent workshop. An attendee said that she wanted to be a writer, that she wrote every day and had done so for years, but that she didn’t feel like a writer. She was also reluctant to read her piece when we shared our free writing that night. After a few others had read, she became willing to share. We were all blown away by her description of a particular smell. It was so apt that we still talk about it weeks later. Being there in the community of the workshop that we created that night, she gained permission to call herself a writer. She went home and started a blog.
In Writership, we’re big on community. Our tagline, “Building commitment to the craft of writing through community” isn’t just a clever slogan. It is our firm belief that when you have a supportive community you can do just about anything, including establish a writing practice, get the stories out of your head and onto paper, or write that book you’ve always wanted to write. We’d love to have you join us. Writership 2014 sets sail soon.