Monday, August 01, 2016

IWSG: About community

Today, August 1st, is our anniversary. About 41 years ago, Allen and I began our adventure together. I look back and think we were impossibly young and didn't know the challenges that lay ahead. He wrote stories; I wrote poetry. He believes in me and gives me the courage and sense of security to simply write. 

He always says that writing is not an activity that requires a community. He's that kind of writer who reflects and writes very slowly, one word at a time, and he tells beautiful stories. In public, he's charismatic, putting on the public face of an entertainer. But he prefers the life of a hermit. I know other writers like this.

Allen and me, Los Angeles, 1975

When I write, I'm rather a sprinter. Gosh, look at those fingers fly over the keyboard. I write and revise, loop back and revise again, a rather circular process until the story sings. In public, I'm shy. My persona is rather that of a manager and teacher, charged up to get things done. I love working with others, even committees, that sense of accomplishment when I can help motivate folks to get things done, whether at work or through volunteerism. But I also prefer the quiet life at home, surrounded by books (increasingly Kindle-based) and close to my computer.

Enter the internet. For the internet has brought me a wonderful sense of connectedness to other writers. My current favorite groups include the Facebook group Ten Minute Novelists, because this group of hard-working writers focuses on craft, just like the Insecure Writers' Support Group. 

Online writing groups, like our group, the Insecure Writers Support Group, the Internet Writing Workshop, and the challenge-based community of NaNoWriMo (I'm a first time camper at Camp Nanowrimo this year), and even Google+ introduce me to other writers and help me dig more deeply into the craft of writing.

Although I'm not very good at writing my own promised quarterly author's newsletter, I subscribe to any number of writers who send out frequent e-mails full of insights about writing. Perhaps too many, for my inbox is typically full. I tell myself I'll catch up tomorrow.

And that's my lament for today's post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. How many tomorrows will there be? 

Both Allen and I are now in our seventies, older than average writers. My ideas for future writing projects stretch out to infinity. Do I have regrets for all those years I worked for corporations and in academia and wrote poetry and short stories in snatches? No. Mostly not. For I did not have the courage to simply let go of that worry: Who will pay the rent? How will we eat if I do not work at a job that has a regular paycheck?

But since retiring just eight years ago, I've been writing. Each book I finish is a celebration. Those issues I care about -- a sense of history, how the human spirit survives despite obstacles -- are embedded in my stories. 

Later this morning, we'll leave on our first trip since March. We're driving up to the mountains near Colville to explore that territory that fur traders once took for granted. A man-made lake now covers what was once an early Hudson's Bay Company fort, but the mountains remain.  

Meanwhile, whether you prefer to write alone or write somewhat connected to others, I challenge you to write those stories that are closest to your heart.  

And why not visit a few other writers who are a part of this monthly check-in for the Insecure Writers Support Group.