My writing community consists of few people, all of whom I rarely see in person. I have tried many times to form or be a part of writing groups, but they end up dissipating before they even really get started. It is true the act of writing is a solo act. It is not like a sports team where you have to get together in order to practice. But I have to admit I miss my grad school workshopping days. I miss the days when I would enter the classroom excited to talk about a beautifully structured sentence, pointing out why and how each word worked. To an outsider, this may seem like the most boring activity in the world, but to a person who writes there is nothing more thrilling than discovering a beautifully written sentence. Grad school has long been over and still I long for these moments. What I discovered after graduating is this:
Writing can often feel lonely.
Writing requires discipline, consistency, accountability and passion. All of these are easily lost when one is no longer faced with deadlines or by the scowl on someone’s face because you failed to critique their work and give them feedback. It is easy to get discouraged when you enter the “real” writing world often consisting of rejection letters and failed projects. This is where the loneliness sets in. At this point you now have few people to vent to. Most of the people you went to grad school with found “real” jobs and are no longer writing or the grad school glue that once made you feel like you had known each other for years has now worn off. You realize that if you are going to have any success as a writer you have to make a go of it on your own.
What does this mean? It means you keep writing because you love to write and you can’t imagine not writing. Make writing a priority and structure your life around it, but make sure that you remember to have fun with it. Taking yourself too seriously, on any level, is never a good idea. And in those moments when you feel all alone in your love for words remember there are many of us feeling the same way at the same moments.