Community in Writing

jotEvery six months, over the last year, my writers group has put on a one night writers conference called Jot. The third installment is less than a month away (Friday, March 14th).

Before we started writing, we were all friends. Each of us had been writing or considering it in one form or another. We each shared our secret love of writing and all of a sudden there we were, meeting about once a week to share our progress or even reading a little of our work. At the time I don’t think we realized the unique situation we had, an organically grown writers group that sprouted out of friendship. We didn’t read an article on a website or an invitation in a bookstore to connect with random individuals, it just sort of happened.

Writing is a lonely activity. I’ve said it many times on my blog that you cannot write alone, but you have to. What I mean is that, just like runners in a marathon, you need people on the sideline cheering you on and also people writing with you to help improve your craft.

The act of writing thrives in community. In community the writer receives encouragement, readers, and challenges all at the same time, three ingredients essential to any would be novelist. This is why we started Jot. Not because we wished to make money (it is free) but because we wanted to connect local writers with other local writers.

If you are a writer in the West Michigan area, or within driving distance, I hope you’ll come out for our event. If anything, our lineup is fantastic. You’ll hear presentations from professional novelists, one on screenwriting, have a chance to attend a free poetry workshop with a poetry editor of a literary magazine, and a presentation from a publisher. I believe, however, you’ll get more than that. Your passion for writing will be ignited and you might find a writing friend or two to meet with regularly, that is our desire.

Writing thrives in community. I hope to see you Friday, March 14th at 7pm at Baker Book House on East Paris in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Until then, write every day!



Why Writers Need Writers

When I have a conversation with an acquaintance that turns personal, this question usually surfaces – “So what do you like to do for fun?”

At times I think about skirting over the question, with – “I like hockey, or I like to read.” However, I have come to learn the value of writing friends and the bond that

Top row (from left): Leo Tolstoy, Dmitry Grigorovich, Bottom row (from left): Ivan Goncharov, Ivan Turgenev, Alexander Druzhinin, and Alexander Ostrovsky

writing builds. I understand that I might get occasional sympathetic nod from the person I am talking with, or a few raised eyebrows and “good luck with that.” Or, maybe, just possibly, a fellow word loving comrade.

Since I started on my novel several years ago I have had the benefit of many writing friends, or friends that are kind enough to read my work and encourage me in my novel. They’ve been with me through many drafts and thankfully I don’t think I have ever been given the look or feeling that I should probably do something more productive with my life.

So where am I going with this long rambling post? Perhaps this is a thank you to all of you who keep asking me, “So how’s it going?” as I stomp through the sludge of my latest draft, and it is. But, also, if you are a new writer or a writer who is struggling to find their way, writing friends are the best and sometimes the only remedy to help you to carry on in your quest to become a published author.

As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

The same can be said for any writer you meet.

Keep writing friends. Never give up.





Free Laughs, Free Insight, and Free Books?

There are many ways that you can improve or be encouraged as a writer. These are things you can do by yourself, but they are better when incorporated into a group who all have the same goal. This is the function of a writers group.

A friend I meet with every week has started a blog. I wanted to take this post to introduce it to my readers. His name is Josh Mosey and I would like to encourage you to read his blog – here. Why? Glad you asked.

If you like to read, follow Josh – he is giving away free books on certain blog posts.

If you like to laugh, he’s funny – humor is included in all blog posts.

If you want insight about writing or the world of books, follow his blog – he posted about a free class at the University of Michigan this morning. If you are interested in fantasy or any form of science fiction, I would highly recommend you to check it out.