Writing can be a very solitary activity at times, especially in these days of staying at home and avoiding contact with other people.
But it’s important to remember that pursuing wider experiences will always inform and inspire your writing. Plus, connecting with other writers (and humans) is a joyful thing, which can bring much more to your life than you might expect.
Recently, Claire from CP’s Day Off ran a free-writing workshop about maintaining focus and motivation while working from home. It came at a very good time for me, as I had definitely been slipping into hermit mode! I’m a lot happier working from home than I ever thought I would be, but I’d been avoiding days out at my favourite writing cafe, skipping meditation classes, and cancelling online events.
During the workshop, we undertook one of Claire’s classic exercises – writing a letter to ourselves from an inanimate object we interact with on a daily basis. And my pink fingerless gloves, which have recently become synonymous with productive writing and editing sessions, told me I needed to start connecting with other people more.
I immediately signed up for a longer freewriting workshop with Claire, which took place a few days later and which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m going to keep going to Claire’s workshops more regularly from now on.
I’ve also been very lucky recently to be involved in the pilot Revision Club programme, from Charlie and Amie of The Six Month Novel. I’ve been introduced to a fantastic group of writers, and we are all in the process of revising our current novels. We have weekly online sessions where we critique each other’s work, provide support and encouragement, and help each other focus. The group has expanded to include extra write-along sessions, which I’m really enjoying.
Certainly, if I hadn’t told the group I would be logging in to the call last Friday, I would not have written the next scene of novel number four that day, or polished up three articles to submit to Writing Magazine!
So, I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks that I do need contact with other people – and especially other writers – to feel more focused and more motivated. And it’s so much fun to share my writing experiences with other people who have a deep understanding of this very important aspect of my life.
I will therefore continue to seek out other opportunities for more connection (I’ve recently come across The 24-Hour Room, which looks interesting) – and there are plenty of them, even in these troubling times, as so many groups and workshops have found a new lease of life and a much greater reach of audience online.