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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Creating While in a Community by Jennifer J. Chow

There’s a myth that writers create in a vacuum. We lock ourselves in our rooms and toil away with a pen or a typewriter or a computer. While words are often written alone (though not always—there are co-authors after all), the truth is we create in a community.

Smith-Corona typewriter

For example, I’m lucky to be part of a weekly critique group. We used to meet in person at a local coffeeshop but are now connecting virtually. My writing buddies and I spur one another on by offering both praise and sharp insight. We’ve been challenging and encouraging each other so long that sometimes our work blurs in minor ways—we often have similar themes or come up with the same character names.

 

The craft of writing is also honed by collaborative study. Beyond books and webinars done by myself, I’ve participated in writing courses at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. The lessons I received there came not only from the instructor but also through valuable feedback from peers. (On a side note, many members of my above critique group also took classes at UCLA, and a few of them even first met in the classroom.)

 

Community isn’t always confined to a local area, though. I’m happy to connect with writers in different geographic locations through various groups. Sisters in Crime is one such fabulous organization. Designed to provide support and encouragement, this international and inclusive community is for all who write and love crime fiction, mystery, thrillers, and suspense.

 

Members of Sisters in Crime have always been welcoming to me, whether by greeting me at conferences or even providing me with blurbs for my books! In fact, I’m so grateful to the organization that I’ve decided to give back and volunteer as Vice President of Sisters in Crime.

 

I’m very thankful to connect with others as I create. How has community impacted your life, in writing or otherwise?

 



7 comments:

Kait said...

What a great blog. Yes, writing is a community effort. This was brought home to many years ago when I learned of and joined SinC (Sisters in Crime) and then joined the Internet chapter Guppies. I was proud to serve on the Guppy board for a number of years, first as Member at Large, and later as President. We welcome new members to Guppies by assuring them the water is warm in the pond. It is, both warm and supportive. Mystery writers are a very collaborative group.

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks for your service to Sisters in Crime. If there's anything I can do to help either this year or next, feel free to ask. I benefited greatly from my years of volunteering with the Guppy Chapter.

Grace Topping said...

I don't think I would be published today if it hadn't been for the members of the writing community who were so generous with their help. One of the first things I tell a new writer is not to go it alone. Your family and friends might be supportive, but they won't understand what you are facing. Other writers, members of WWK among them, have reviewed my work, bolstered me up, introduced me to writers and agents, etc., etc., etc. My goal now is to pass it along to others.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

The pandemic has given me greater access to SinC events, particularly the Columbus, Ohio Buckeye Crime Writers.

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Kait: The Guppies chapter is very welcoming & informative! Thank you so much for serving there!

Jim: Wonderful. Thanks for offering your help!

Grace: Excellent advice. Happy that you continued with the aid of community to get published. So great that you're passing it along!

Margaret: That's a great point about more virtual access. I love how there are archives on the SinC website for webinars and events.

Marilyn Levinson said...

The writing community is so important to me, especially now when we're still not traveling around as much as we used to. We're so lucky that we can communicate in various electronic ways. Writing is a lonely activity; perhaps that's why we're supportive of one another. My non-writing friends often tell me how they wish they had what we share.

Jennifer J. Chow said...

That's fascinating, Marilyn, about your non-writer friends. I do so appreciate the extensive support we writers extend to one another.