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.
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?