There’s valuable advice touted by the Thinking Writer about the importance of networks and support groups for writers.
I was discussing this very subject with a classmate last night. I’m fortunate to have discovered a group of writers who meet on a regular basis in my home town. It is a safe, but constructive, environment in which to discuss each other’s work. This analysis is hugely beneficial to the development of my critical faculties in regards to my own writing. The meetings also serve as an essential social contact.
Writing is a lonely career. It fosters introspection and independence. This is head-wrecking after a period of time, and it’s important to emerge, blinking, from the imagined worlds that consume us. While any kind of social event is helpful, it’s wonderful to discuss with fellow scribes the kind of subjects that writers obsess about: films, books, plays, porn, and the best place to buy coffee.
One of the nicest aspects of taking the MA in screenwriting was being part of a group in which everyone understood each other’s creative trials and tribulations. Now that classes are over I miss that interaction. Once I hand in my final draft in September I’m on my own again.
Except, thankfully, I’m not. Now, I have a community of like-minded people to turn to when I need advice, and criticism of my work. I’m sure I would view the coming autumn with more trepidation if this was not the case.
It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re working on your own with nebulous deadlines that can be moved depending on your whim and/or level of procrastination. Anything that helps to keep you on track is damn useful. Plus the enthusiasm and support of fellow writer is inspiring. And there’s there’s the plain and pleasant fact that we can sit around afterwards in a pub and enjoy a drink together and discuss our interests.
This is a lifeline that writers need. Maybe some people can do without it, but I suspect that I might end up like Jack Torrance from The Shining if I was on my own all the time. It’s best for Martin if that eventuality can be avoided.