Wanting to find my niche of writer friends.

12 Dec

Since starting this blog in November of last year and realizing my own need to share my story of living with CP, I think it’s accurate to say there have definitely been days with no words. Days when I would sit at my computer for hours before a memory would find its way into my mind or I’d realize I wanted to share a certain lesson I had learned. However, I think it’s important to realize that we all have days where we get stuck. Though I’m most familiar with it in terms of how it relates to being a writer, I know the concept of being stuck affects people in different ways.

In my experience, I have gotten over many of my ruts by reading. I imagine it has something to do with having the chance to get out of your own head for a little while to enter the world of someone else’s creativity and writing style. Though it doesn’t always act as an immediate jolt, placing myself into the worlds of other writers allows me to gain perspective as well as achieve a better understanding of the message I want to get across through my own writing.

Last month, when I read Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett, I spent time imagining how things would’ve been different for me now if I had made the decision to major in English instead of Psychology. Though I love Psychology, I have always had a love of words, literature, and the power of writing. However, I think I ended up choosing Psychology because I knew it would hold many more opportunities for me in terms of a future career than English would. Though I am very happy with my decision to study Psychology, I do miss the English courses I took my freshman year of college. In those classes, I flourished. I poured over the short stories we discussed in class, but since my freshman year was a time in which I took a break from my writing, I wasn’t keen on writing my own stories. Though I knew I had the ability, I was fully content to live inside the worlds of the authors I only hoped to one day emulate.

In Ann Patchett’s memoir Truth & Beauty, writer friends Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, to study English. The entire time I was reading of Ann and Lucy’s adventures as English majors in northern Manhattan, I imagined myself in a similar place (not in terms of living in New York, but studying English and being surrounded by others who also had a love for writing). I pictured myself finding my writer friends, forming writer groups and spending hours discussing our own writing projects as well as the works of the authors we hoped to be like. I pictured myself spending hours in bookstores pouring over Flannery O’Connor, only to one day find someone sitting near me pouring over an entirely different book, while finding comfort in the silent conversation we shared. Despite the fact I now live in the artsy city of Asheville, I have not found the writing niche I long for. In some part of my mind, I wonder if I would have found my writer friends easier if I had chosen to be an English major instead, especially since it seems to be an unspoken fact that English majors love to write, read and talk about books. Though I hope to eventually find a group of writer friends my age who are able to fully understand my love of literature and writing, sometimes I just wish I had put myself in a better position to find just that.

Though I know I have a lot of time to “find my niche,” I think each of us longs to be around a group of people who understands us and encourages us to fully embrace the things we love. Though I do have friends my age who fit that mold, none of them are writers. I do remember coming across a Literature Club on my college campus, and that may be a place to start. However, I also know that I’m interested in connecting with others who not only love to read, but have the burning desire to write on a daily basis (and end up doing so, for the most part). So yes, I feel like I would benefit from a niche of writer friends. Maybe all it takes is being willing to go out into the community in search of a writers group. Though stereotypically most writers categorize themselves as introverts and would much rather spend a day inside reading than out socializing with friends (and I definitely categorize myself this way), I think the only way I’m going to find my fellow writers to talk with about books, writing and the deeper complexities of life is just by going out and looking for it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. But who has ever said that something worth finding ever is?

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5 Responses to “Wanting to find my niche of writer friends.”

  1. Cassie December 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    I did major in English and while I made friends, it was also really competitive because everyone wanted to be doing the same thing and so people became over critical with the people that they should have been closest with. I wish we lived closer so I could be your writing friend. I think you should look in the used bookstores and see if there are any signs for writing groups (even if it’s a bunch of old women sitting around with tea….I should note, old women are the best writing wonder women). Maybe just find a place in Asheville that you always want to write in, like a writing home and as people see you there frequently they will start talking to you and you’ll form something. Or just take on that extra class and take writing. : ) You’re wonderful. I love reading your blog.

    • ameliaclaire92 December 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks for the advice, Cassie. Looking for signs at bookstores I frequent is a really great idea. 🙂 I’ll be on the lookout once I’m back in Asheville for the spring semester, and I’ll let you know if I find something. Thanks for being such an amazing friend! 🙂

  2. Arianna Merritt, M.Ed. December 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    I can totally relate. Having a supportive network that you can share your writing with is so important. An amazing friend of mine and I meet every couple weeks and share pieces of writing with each other. We both started to do this and make the group a priority as we both need someone to share our writing with – even though we are both in psych. You could always start a group too. Have you ever heard of meetup.com? You could start a writing group at your school and have meetings. Or see if there are any groups in your area. And post a link on your fb. Just an idea. I’m also part of this group on fb that is for bloggers that we can share our adventures. Perhaps you should create a group on there too. You could write on your own and then send it to people to review and share 🙂 Just ideas for you. I’d love to be your online writing buddy.

    • ameliaclaire92 December 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks for telling me about meetup.com. I hadn’t heard of that.

  3. P. C. Zick December 13, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    I think it’s the reason I’m so attracted to the 1920s Paris crowd and stories about Maxwell Perkins as an editor extraordinaire. But alas in reality, writers are competitive and protective. One of my best friends is also a writer, and we talk craft and books, but we don’t share our work with one another until it’s published. Then we cheer for one another. It works for us.

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