I find that I grow as a writer by surrounding myself with writers. The problem is when I first recognized myself as a writer, I secluded myself. I told no one. I wrote in secret. Three years later (and after many self-sabotaging conversations with myself) I took a wild leap before I could change my mind. Bam!
Now, I have this blog, I have joined several online writing groups, and I am submitting and publishing my work. I don’t necessarily feel at ease calling myself a writer (all the time), but I am getting more comfortable with the idea.
What’s helping? Other writers. I am showcasing a few of them on my new Poetry Friends page: https://stepsinbetween.com/poetry-friends/
Here are a just a few who have cheered me on in my endeavors:
Pamela Hobart Carter
Ann Christine Tabaka
I cannot thank these women from all around the globe enough for their daily inspiration. They are each an example of a strong woman and incredible writer. Again, I have a sampling of their poetry on my new Poetry Friends page. Take a look: https://stepsinbetween.com/poetry-friends/
I’ve posted before about the importance of joining writing groups. I haven’t been able to find an in-person group here in Seattle that seems to fit… yet. Typically, it’s a convenience situation. Seattle is big, and traffic is a nightmare. But online, connecting with other writers in groups has made a tremendous difference. Meeting, reading, and interacting with a variety of writers sharing their work, their ideas, their inspiration, books they’ve read, people and experiences that move them… it all motivates me. It helps me feel validated. And it adheres that sense of community, binding it to my heart. It’s what encourages me to keep moving forward in my quest.
I believe it’s worked well so far… I put myself out there this past November when I read at my first poetry reading. I was terrified, felt like a fraud, and was pretty sure I didn’t belong. Then, with the encouragement of the group, it soon felt as if the night had been awaiting my arrival. I received and accepted the moment, and took a few more steps forward.
I am certain I will meet some bitter cranky writers one day, but for now, the writers I have encountered have been like long lost members of a tribe. Maybe it’s because we all thrive on each other’s inspiration. We all experience self-doubt. We are all trying to live our lives pretending that “other” voice in our heads isn’t constantly putting words together, constructing and deconstructing sentences, scenes, stanzas, character arcs… and the list goes on. We all share similar hauntings, you could say, because writing tends to be something that happens to each and every one of us in our own unique way. And we can learn from each other.
I guess what I mean to say, is that I would not be where I am right now without other writers, especially the ones I am blessed to call my new friends. So, I encourage you to find yourself a group!
I am honored to share poems from some of my poetry friends on my new Poetry Friends page: https://stepsinbetween.com/poetry-friends/
Writing Advice: Resources and Other Genres
Find a book about poetry or writing in which to study from. As a life-long learner, it’s important to continue investigating what’s out there. We can’t grow if we only keep our eyes down one path.
I am about to start reading a new resource, Creating Character ARCS, a Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development, by K.M. Weiland. I was introduced to this book from one of my writing groups and am eager to read it. I will let you know how it goes in a later post. Never think you know enough. Keep reading resource books to improve.
Also, I am currently reading a novel from a genre I don’t typically read from. The book is, Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, and I am absolutely loving it. The paragraphs are long (something I try not to do on purpose), but her ability to carry the words across the page in turn carries me, and before I know it I am several pages along and completely sucked into her world. I’ve even found lines to inspire some poetry. Although my own genre of writing is quite different, I am learning from her with every page I turn.
In short, read more and be open to everything!
By Celaine Charles, April 15, 2018
https://pxhere.com/en/photo/427815 (wood images)
http://gclipart.com/friends-clipart/ (people crown)
Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
Creating Character Arcs, by K.M. Weiland
Categories: Thoughts on writing...