Monday, April 9, 2012

Meeting with Writers. In Person!

I love my writing community. I have twitter, facebook (including a few rocking fb groups!), Verla Kay's blueboard, blogs, and my fabulous critique partners. Everything I do in my writing life is online except for when I write my first drafts down on paper. But, I only can stand to look at my computer so much before my eyes start bugging out and my body starts wanting to be in position other than sitting. And there's something to be said about getting together with people--in person.

I have to tell you, I've had this secret dream that all children's writers could just move to one localized area. An artists colony. A city of children's writers! Now that would be one whacked out awesome city! I know, I know, reality. That is not going to happen. But a girl can still dream!

As some of you already know, I lived on a secluded mountaintop for the last 16 years. It was a great place to be, but we never had many visitors. Why? Some people are actually a little scared of the one lane dirt road that winds out of town and eventually leads to the house, but mostly, people can't even figure out which turnoffs to take. No road signs can make things difficult. Getting together with other writers in person never even really crossed my mind. It just wasn't possible.

Then, when this new wacky thing happened and my family moved into an inn and opened a café I started thinking about that romanticized notion. Writers at cafés. I'm always jealously reading tweets from my buddy Lisha Cauthen, saying she's going to some sekrit writing spot. Well, why can't my café be a writing spot? Why can't writers gather here?

Even though the solitary introvert part of me made me a little hesitant, I couldn't resist. I put together a meeting for writers. I was definitely nervous. There are so many different kinds of writers and where I live is so rural, people are really spread out. I didn't know who would show up, if anyone at all. I didn't know if I would have anything to offer a writer of science fiction or a poet or whoever might come and expect that I had answers for them since I am a published writer.

I needn't have worried. It turns out that there are some other writers around here that just wanted to get together with other writers too. I listened to some poems. I taught someone about platform. I celebrated someones magazine publication! And I talked to a new writer about carving time out for yourself to write. It was a splendid get-together!

I love having writer friends. The more genres the better! Yes, I suppose it could get tough down the road when people are wanting critiques, but now that word is spreading and people have heard that we actually met, it seems like more people are interested. Who knows what kinds of fun this writing group will lead to? Perhaps we will sometimes break off into little groups, perhaps we'll schedule teaching sessions, or maybe we'll just sit around and talk about whatever we're working on at the time. We didn't come up with any solid plans at our first meeting, except that we're going to meet again.

How does your writing life work? Are you mostly online or do you have an in-person group? And what do you do in your in-person writers' group? I would love to hear about your experiences!


  1. Sounds like you had a great first meeting, Heather. I'm sure you will have many more. You will feel your way along and find what's right for your group =)

    I was part of a local writing group for about seven years. We used a "word of the week" as a prompt and then we each had something to read at the next meeting. Our focus was on encouragement. Later we kind of morphed into a critique group, but it wasn't really the right format for us. You will have fun figuring out what works for you. Good luck with it!

  2. YAY Heather! I'm so glad your writers group meeting worked out. Sounds like fun. And I do know what it's like to do all of this online too. Tomorrow I'm skyping into a meeting of people gathering around a real table. I'll be the laptop off to the side. Almost like being there!

  3. Yes, inluv, I think you're right. We'll just have to see what works for us as we move along. It sure is fun though!

    And Dana, you are brave! I don't think I could be the laptop off to the side. I'd feel like everyone was looking at me! Ha!

  4. Yay you! Wonderful news! Did you entice them with a catchy slogan?? I dream of meeting writer friends in person on a regular basis. I am so grateful however for my online writer community just like you. They have taught me so much, since I don't have that in person contact! Congratulations!

  5. You go, girl! Writers need to push themselves outside of their comfort zones, I think. You did that and made some new connections and friends along the way. Fantastic!

  6. Wish I could come to your cafe. Sounds homey and I love the idea of a real writer's cafe. Dream on...

  7. wow wow...wished I lived closer to you! good for you on setting that up. I mostly connect online these days, but used to meet up with Linda every other week or so, plus went on a couple of writer retreats with friends....hmmm, thinking it time for another one of those! And oh my...and artist colony of children's writers, how awesome would that be!