A Community of Writers

My writing is a primarily solitary affair. I do my best work when the phone is out of earshot, when the door is closed, when I’ve created time where nothing else requires my attention. I say no to the dirty dishes in the sink, no to Facebook, no to the long decadent shower before heading off to the day job. I clock in on an Excel spreadsheet to hold myself accountable, and then I force myself to stay in the chair until the allotted time is finished. There is always quite a bit of fidgeting in that chair.

It’s a pleasure when I can emerge from behind the closed door into the community as a writer. My critique group, a small group of three, has been meeting regularly since 2008. They are family: they see my early drafts and work to make them better with care and constructive feedback. Then they repeat the process again and again, drafts two and three and four, and the next story and the next and the next.

Author readings are a delight; it’s far too rare to watch the written word affect listeners. Book readings give this activity space and time and light and air.

Writers’ Conferences are enough to make my brain explode from overstimulation. It’s an all-too-short day or two or three of meeting writers, learning from presentations, being inspired by speeches, and sharing my own stories.

At the Willamette Writers Conference a few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Maureen Kay, a writer in Portland. She is another author in the trenches, working steadily to craft stories that illuminate our world. On her website, she has highlighted some of the other authors in our community that are also working hard, day in and day out. She was kind enough to include me in the list. Take a peek!