Hello again! And Happy New Year.
Time for the Insecure Writers Support Group to convene once more. And today I have a confession to make. I wasn't sure I was going to start the blog up again after the holidays. I got so much quality writing done while unplugged that I questioned the value of going back online. I think we've all done the cost/benefit analysis of blogging vs writing time and, well, here I am.
The truth is blogging requires a serious commitment of time if you want to do it right. I know I can sometimes lose three hours putting together a blog post, and then spend that much time or more visiting other blogs and commenting during the week. But, you know, as much as we love shutting the door so we can be alone to write there's also a long tradition of writers needing other writers.
In the 1920's, writers and artists flocked to Paris to be part of the expat scene. Writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, and Joyce. They shared ideas, formed mentor/protege relationships, encouraged one another, grew envious of each other's success, and yes, probably drank themselves into the gutter. But the Lost Generation didn't do it alone.
In the 1930's a group of men who started tinkering in a bit of writing began gathering at The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford to exchange work and share ideas. They called themselves the Inklings, and their regular Tuesday meetings were as much about being social and sharing a pint as they were about the writing. C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were the most famous of the group, and perhaps two of the most famous writers of any group, but they didn't do it alone.
|Plaque inside The Eagle and Child pub|
Early in the twentieth century, a group of London writers, artists, and intellectuals met on an informal basis to talk literature, economics, politics, and whatever else captured their attention. E. M. Forester, Virginia Woolf, and Lytton Strachey were just a few of the members of the Bloomsbury Group who recognized the value of creative people coming together to exchange ideas and encourage one another toward success.
And so, while this may not be a cafe in Paris or a pub in Oxford, we are very lucky to live in an age when we writers can gather with like-minded people all over the world by simply turning on a computer and going online. The fact is we need each other to try out new ideas, to read each other's work, to offer encouragement when the rejections come in, and send congratulations when success finally strikes.
I've seen many blogs come and go. Some bloggers announce that they are done, and others sort of just quietly fade away and you never hear from them again. I always wonder if they've given up the writing too. I hope not. And I hope they found another way to connect with people, either through an in-person critique group or maybe a forum, because as tempting as it is to unplug and write in a cocoon, I really don't think anyone can find success as a writer without a little help from their friends.
This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We meet the first Wednesday of every month to share our insecurities and offer encouragement to one another. They may never hang a plaque to commemorate our meetings, but it's all cached in the archives. Join us!
*And thanks to my friend Maine Character who provided the perfect quote at the top. :)
**Artwork by Joni Herman