You’ve probably heard writers bemoaning that writing’s a solitary experience. And most of us would agree — and disagree. While it’s true that a lot of the time we’re holed up by ourselves, pecking away at the keyboard when we’re not staring off into space, we’re often gathered with our “tribe members”. And, no, those strangers surrounding us in the coffee shop while we watch the blinking cursor on our laptop screens don’t count.
For me, my tribe members can be found at my local Romance Writers of America chapters, workshops, booksigning events, and conferences. Though, I admit, we spend most of our time together discussing industry news and trends, sharing marketing tips, and expounding on our current work in progress. Not writing.
The only actual writing I’ve ever done with others are brainstorming sessions and my regular critique group, which may or may not count. A few times a year, I meet with one or more writer friends and hash out book ideas. And for fifteen years now, my critique group has met every two weeks and edited each other’s pages.
But I’ve never actually sat down and written with others until now. For a while, I’d been hearing about write-ins and thought I’d give it a try. Basically, you meet with other authors in a specified location (restaurant, coffee shop, library, etc.) and you sit together and quietly write. I even have one friend who does this long distance via Skype.
Why a write in? I suppose it seems a waste of time, driving somewhere just to sit and quietly write — there’s none of that networking and chit-chat like at meetings or conferences. But it works for some, and I’m giving it the old college try. There’s structure and habit to these write-ins. They force me to set aside a specific period of time to write. There’s also accountability, which is a huge plus. I’m easily distracted and tend to check email or Facebook. Write-ins force me to stay on task. And reporting how many pages I wrote at the end of the session is a bit like stepping on that scale at Weight Watchers. I like that accountability aspect.
Not sure this will become a regular practice for me. Time will tell. But, for now, working beside a kindred spirit a few times a month is a nice change of pace from the hours alone in my home office.