The Importance of Connecting

Writers connecting over coffee

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts, mostly because I’ve been head down writing my new WIP. This project is all absorbing, because I am very excited about it and very scared that I can’t do it justice. But I haven’t just been writing. I’ve also been connecting the dots, filling in blank spaces, in my writing and in life.

Connecting to craft is a process that never ends

There may be writers for whom craft comes as easily as breathing, and I know I have natural storytelling instincts that serve me well. But just relying on that innate toolbox only gets a writer so far.

That’s why I’ve also been consciously working on my writing craft. Yes, anyone who’s read these posts knows that I believe writers never stop learning, through reading and taking advantage of opportunities to participate in workshops and classes that are relevant to them. I don’t mind if the woman who’s teaching an inspiring class about narrative momentum and suspense (I’m looking at you, Sarah Jane Cody) is probably younger than my younger daughter. I don’t mind realizing that several of the workshop participants are superb writers, probably more deserving of publication than I am.

All I care about is that I’m absorbing craft techniques that I can apply to my own writing to make it richer and more effective.

Connecting with kindred spirits is vital

There’s another reason I’ve been absent from this space for a few months. I’ve been making it a priority to connect with other writers who are facing similar struggles and looking for similar feedback and encouragement. I have had an inspiring online writing community for years. But I needed something more immediate.

I mentioned the workshops. Through them, I’ve met several wonderful local writers and formed more personal connections with them. I also started a new writing critique group, and I’m blown away by the abilities and insight these women (they are all women) have brought to the table. I literally mean the table, the one in my dining room.

And yesterday I attended our local one-day writing conference, Write Angles. There I reconnected with writers I now know and also made a face-to-face connection with an agent, to whom I’ve sent the beginning of my WIP.

E.M. Forster was right

I don’t think I’ve ever completely understood what he meant when he said, Only connect. My meaning may not be the same as his, but I’m feeling grateful for the connections I’ve been able to make recently, and encourage other writers out there to do the same. It takes time, and with my full-time day job and an ambitious writing goal, I told myself that I didn’t have time.

I was wrong. Most writers need connection to a world that understands the challenges, obstacles, heartache, discouragement, and sometimes triumph they face. Only other writers can be that world.

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