Tag Archives: Writer Friends

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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My first shot at NaNoWriMo.

27 Oct

I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this November, which is National Novel Writing Month in which amateur and seasoned writers alike aim to write a 50,000-word novel in one month. Even though I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, I’ve heard about how fun it can be.

My decision to participate in NaNoWriMo arose when I went to a NaNoWriMo planning party last week in Asheville. The wonderful thing about NaNoWriMo is since it’s a big deal, there are normally groups of writers participating in hundreds or thousands of cities in the world. Though I was at first iffy about the idea of writers getting together regarding a project that’s different for every person (since every writer is going to be writing something different), it actually is a wonderful way to gain support within writing and make more writing friends. Though I wasn’t sure whether I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo when I went to the planning party last week, I figured that it couldn’t hurt either way since I’ve been wanting to make more writer friends.

The writers in the Asheville NaNoWriMo group are mostly women, which is fine by me. I actually expected that. Either way, it’ll be fun to see how we grow as writers and as friends. Thankfully, I went to the NaNoWriMo group with a friend of mine that I work with at the campus bookstore, which made the whole experience much better since there was a friendly face there with me. Anyway, even though we aren’t able to start actually writing until the first of November, this first get together acted as a way to start planning, plotting, thinking of characters, and outlining. Though I was supportive of that idea, I was still incredibly unsure of what I was going to write. Though I wrote a lot of fiction when I was younger, I’ve been in the memoir-writing phase since January. I’ve gotten used to the style and how my writing days normally go. Therefore, I didn’t know whether I’d be able to switch genres at the drop of a hat.

However, after talking out my ideas with my NaNoWriMo group, I realized that there’s nothing against continuing my memoir during the month of November. Truthfully, that made me ecstatic simply because I feel like this is the kick in the pants that I’ve needed. The simple fact that for the entire month I’ll be concerned with word count and simply getting everything out is what first drafts are all about anyway. Getting it all out first and then cleaning it up later. There’s a reason why they are called “shitty first drafts.” So even though I couldn’t start writing during our NaNoWriMo meeting last week, I started to write down all the memories and moments within my childhood that I haven’t yet included in my memoir, and trust me, there are a lot. I have 3 to 4 pages dedicated to simple memories. I truthfully can’t wait to get started on the 1st of November. It’s going to be even better to have constant support while also knowing that fellow writers will just be writing their hearts out as well.

Even though I’m set on participating in NaNoWriMo to move forward on my memoir, I was a bit unsure about how I would keep up with my memoir as well as this blog. As of the first of November, I will have blogged every day for an entire year, and this blog is definitely not something that I’d want to fall by the wayside. Therefore, I’ve decided to incorporate my writing for NaNoWriMo into this blog, which means that for the entire month of November, you will all be getting to read everything that I’m writing as I partake on my very first NaNoWriMo journey. I’m incredibly excited for this next phase in my writing life, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

So, now the big question: How many of you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are any of you newbies this year? Do you have a regional NaNoWriMo group that you’re meeting with, or are you just going solo? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially since this is the first year I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo.