Back in March, I decided I wanted to return to the commitment I made last year to write every day. My NaNoWriMo critique group started up again in February, and I put up an accountability calendar in March. I wanted to ensure that I would have a visual incentive and reminder at my desk. But I was feeling the urge to connect with other independent professionals more often.
Initially, I organized a weekly video meeting with a former coworker of mine. I envisioned that we would be a support for each other, since my former coworker runs her own business. The arrangement worked for about a month, and then became untenable. We were unable to continue, and I felt bummed.
Then I realized that what I needed was to get support and connect with other writers. While it was great to work with my former coworker again, I needed something more relevant to my work. Since I have had trouble doing work in my house, I thought it would be a good time to start getting out of the house once a week to do work in New York City. I’d just go in, find a cafe, write for the afternoon, and then go home.
April was Camp NaNoWriMo; it’s similar to NaNoWriMo, except you set your own writing goals. I decided to work on the memoir I started in March. I went into NYC three or four times to write for Camp NaNo write-ins. I decided to reach out to my NaNo writer’s critique group and find out if anyone wanted to join me. I knew that at least one person who might have time to meet, and others might be looking for the same thing.
I sent out an email to the group, and a few people answered. With the exception of this week, I have been going on Wednesdays. Two to three other writers join. We sit down, and write for a few hours. We chat about writing and non-writing topics. We get to see each other on a regular basis.
One of the other writers is a group facilitator who started her own business called WIP Squared: Women in Process with Works in Progress – a community for women writers. Since she was starting up a new group, I decided to join. In addition to weekly call-ins, we have a Facebook group where we can post to both give and get support. We’re already half-way done, but it’s added another level of support that I’ve needed.
By having several groups, I have more opportunities to meet writers who are on the same path. We are all trying to keep to to our work schedules, deal with personal and professional obstacles, and have someone (multiple someones) on our side, cheering us on. I’ve felt much less isolated, have met writers along varying points in their careers, and have already had opportunities to share what I’ve learned as well as learn from others. The benefits of writers groups flows both into and out of a writer, no matter who or where they are in their writing careers.