Words With Friends

Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his type writer or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter.

Isaac Asimov, I, Asimov

Being an author is an ideal occupation for an introvert. However, sometimes it is nice to spend time with friends in reality. The regular write-ins I attend are an essential part of my writing life. At my busiest moments, they are a touchstone reminding me to make time for my creative work. 

I discovered the concept of the write-in through NaNoWriMo. It is a simple idea. A group of writers get together, usually in a coffee shop (because coffee is writing fuel), get out our laptops or notebooks, and write. Unlike more formal writing groups, we don’t set writing tasks or expect people to come along with something to share. I know what I want to write and I don’t like sharing before I’m ready (after all I’m still an introvert). Instead, it is more like what child psychologists would describe as parallel play. We are all working on our individual projects and won’t necessarily talk about the specifics of what we are writing. However, just being surrounded by like-minded individuals is strangely encouraging and we often come away having achieved far more than we expected. 

It’s not all working in silence though. I’ve been to some write-ins where there are long periods without talking and didn’t enjoy them as much. Besides, these days I’m almost always accompanied by a toddler and he doesn’t understand how to stay quiet. For me, getting away from the silence of being alone is one advantage of write-ins. I am lucky to have found other writers who feel likewise. 

So as we write we also chat about books, films, music, how to murder people, philosophy, magic, relationships and many other subjects. My friends range from people just writing for their own enjoyment through to successful published authors. We are writing fantasy, crime, literary fiction, romance, horror and things that don’t really fit into any genre. Yet there isn’t a sense of hierarchy or snobbery. Just having the crazy notion that we would like to write stories is enough to bring us together. It is a wonderfully inclusive and supportive community.

Asimov is correct that writing is solitary work. However, I find that having friends cheering you on and encouraging them as they travel along a similar path makes it a lot less lonely and a lot more fun.

May your adventures be full
of mystery and magic



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