Sunday, November 18, 2012

Interacting with the Writing Crowd

A few weeks ago I got up the nerve to attend a writers' happy hour in DC.  It was terrifyingly thrilling.  From past posts, you may remember that I'm a tad bit of an introvert, so to attend such a function is WAY out of character for me.

 I'll admit I walked past the bar (The Science Club) not two but THREE times before I actually went in.  It's called Gathering Courage. 

Anyway, I went in and ... had an alright time.  There were about ten of us and the organizer, the lovely Willona Sloan, walked us through three writing exercises of 20 minutes each.  Willona gave us writing prompts and we all wrote furiously for the given time limit, with the option to share at the end. 

Being a writers' happy hour virgin, I didn't dare share my pathetic attempts at literary genius with the group.  I was too embarrassed, too self-conscious.  I was also finding it difficult to concentrate with the awesome 80s music soundtrack and a loud and intense conversation going on at the table next to us.  But, it was a learning experience.  It was a start.

The point is, dear readers/writers, that these types of exercises are good for us.  Writing is most often a lonely excursion but if we lock ourselves in our offices or bedrooms or basements or wherever our writing place is for too long, we may lose something of the human dynamic that is so important in writing.  For me personally, I lose the ability to write acceptable, believable dialogue.

I encourage everyone to search their local writer's scene for a writers' get-together.  If happy hours aren't your thing, what about a poetry slam or even a book club?  I have found that most members of such groups, be they for writing or reading, are extremely accepting of other new members and very encouraging toward everyone's personal goals. 

Better yet, if your local area that doesn't have something to stir your inner writer cravings, create a group of your own.  Willona saw a lack of such get-togethers in the DC area (What? DC not having enough happy hours?! Get out!) and started her own.  And so far, it's going very well.  On that note, I'd also like to encourage writers to search for writer's retreats and workshops. 

Since proving to myself that attending a writing social event does not cause immediate death, I do think I'll attend another.  (A little run n' coke helps, too.)


  1. Sounds like the kind of thing that would be good for me! Maybe I'll try to look one up next time I'm visiting family in DC. Look forward to reading more about your writing pursuits!

  2. I live in rural Maine. Unless the moose start picking up pens and scribbling down their memoirs, the number of writers nearby is pretty small. Online works for me though.