The value of human contact for writers



If you can’t stand being alone you probably shouldn’t be a writer. Still, occasional fraternization with other human beings who also shove words around can be a good thing. Perhaps even necessary.

Ever since that day several years ago when I scraped the rust off my writing gears and made the promise to myself to finish the two novels I had begun nearly 20 years earlier, I have pretty much been going it alone on the writing front. I set aside time to write, and then I write. And write. And write. Rarely if ever did I bother to share with anyone what I was working on, or that I was working on anything at all. Wasn’t until I was finished that I put my stuff out there in the universe, hoping to attract some attention, figuring my way around self marketing and promotion as I went along. Truth be told, this is something I’m still feeling my way around, but I’d like to feel I’m at least getting a bit of a handle on it. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

And the positive thing here is that I did manage to finish those two novels, and write two more novels besides. Score one for productivity from the dungeon. I may not have smelled too good after all those days underground in the darkness, but at least I had something to show for it.

The flip side of this whole solo macho one-man-stands-alone journey thing, however, is that I wasn’t getting much feedback on my stuff as I was creating my stuff, and that stuff isn’t good. Because everyone who writes – and I do mean absolutely everyone – needs an editor. There are no exceptions. And not that I didn’t at least have the good sense to employ a content editor  to look a couple of my novels over once they were all done, but I can’t help but think, in retrospect, that they still could have benefited from some early intervention. Because any piece of writing can be better, but the only way that happens is with some friendly outside interference.

All of which is to say I finally decided to take some advice from my daughter and join a writer’s group. I actually stepped outside myself and  found them online. Went to my first meeting last night, and already I’m feeling like I know I made the right decision. Just listening to other writers discussing and critiquing each other’s work was almost healing.

Yep. Humans ain’t so bad after all. Sunshine either.

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Writer and musician.

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