You never realize just how important it is to be a writer who engages frequently with other writers until you're isolated for a while...In the collegiate world I was surrounded by many scholars and writers, but not a whole lot of writers, if you understand the difference. I did not know of a single other person in my circle or world who was writing a novel or who was working on their sequel or their short story anthology. I was, in a sense, without someone to talk to or collaborate with.
When I started my new job, I was delighted to find that one of my coworkers was also a prolific writer. It is she who has encouraged me and guided me into the self-publishing world, though she far more prolifically than I, and her mere presence helped me to churn out the rest of the book I was working on at the time. I am but the grasshopper, and she yet the sensei. Every morning we could chat and gush about our favorite books, authors, writing tropes, or growl about grammar mistakes and cop outs and the publishing industry's foibles as it tries to discover how to cope with technological advancements.
Then she moved for another job that would give her more time to write, which is wonderful for her! But I, alas, was deprived of her daily presence and good conversation, and realized then just how much that conversation was a catalyst and motivator for my own work.
Don't realize how good it is until it's gone, indeed.
Luckily, she's still around the corner, and we and another coworker who is now also moving on to other projects (and is also a writer) have set up Writerly-Teas.
If you're a writer and have friends who are writers, I highly recommend this. Every writer should have a Writerly-Tea.
A Writerly-Tea is a time-- be it a lunch hour, a sunrise coffee, or, in our case, a post-work teatime-- when you get together with your fellow writers and "talk shop" (or talk plot, as the case may be).
Writers need lots of material. We need inspiration constantly, every moment of the day, by reading, by watching movies, by looking at art and listening to music, by exercising, by being out in nature. Whatever your inspiration is, you need it in great quantities and in great repetition. But what often gets overlooked and is just as important-- if not even more important, at times-- is writerly companionship.
Writers keep each other accountable. Writers set each others' schedules. Writers bounce ideas off of you and help you with your plot struggles and character development. Writers have movie nights when they're thinking about a Shakespearean interpretation and writers have write-ins on the weekends so that they actually sit and work rather than play solitaire or mess around on Facebook. They are the voices in your head personified.
We were having tea last night-- we do this once weekly, at least, at a set time that never changes, so there are no scheduling hassles barring illness or travel-- and got to talking plot after we had updated each other and shared what we were currently working on. Both of us are looking ahead to our future projects, as well as concentrating on what we're doing now, and just by churning through some rough ideas and explaining what we kind of sort of thought we might maybe possible be interested in doing, we both solidified great ideas that had been floating around but not really come down to earth yet. I have the vague idea of my two next books now in my head, whereas before I just knew I wanted to do more books of a certain spin. And I'm energized about writing like I haven't been in years and years before I started this friendship.
I'm already excited about our next Writerly-Tea. I'm excited about the write-in that we've got planned for the weekend, and the upcoming movie nights we've got in the talking-about. I'm excited that I'm excited about writing, and about the work of writing. It's not only a time to hang out with a good friend. It's time to hang out with a colleague and brother in arms.
Slide me that chai latte and give me my pencil!