Building a Creative Community
One great way to be able to take that leap into risks is to build a creative community. I think writers tend to begin to diminish the value of the community of people around them. I like to say it takes a village to write a novel. This is one thing I learned from NaNoWriMo, because one of the great things about our community is the spirit of encouragement, and that encouragement is just built into the fabric of who we are as a community. Here's a great example of how that took place. This is C.S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien, so I think this, they met way back in the 20's. They were both professors at Oxford. They loved Nordick Myths and sharing in these kind of fanciful tales together. And but the English department at Oxford, though, they felt like if they told their fellow professors they would be judged that their work didn't have the critical gravitas that they were looking for in the Oxford English Department, so they started meeting at a pub and just swapping their tales and then the...
y found, they were very, they were operating as outsiders and they found other outsiders who liked the same types of stories and they formed this creative community of this writing group called The Inklings. And they met every week or something, and Tolkien said that C.S. Lewis' sheer encouragement was an unpayable debt. "He was for long my only audience, only from him did I ever get the idea that my stuff could be more than a private hobby", so communities, they have, they build in this sense of accountability cause you gotta show up with your story every time you, you meet if you're in a writing group. And they also validate who you are as a writer. Being a writer is such a strange thing sometimes, that somebody who's not a writer is not gonna really understand the challenges that you have as a writer, or they might think of it more as a hobby than a serious endeavor. And writing, The Inklings, they're not alone as like a single writing community, if you think about it, Paris in the 20's, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, a bunch of artists were there. They were all creating each other as they were creating themselves, the Beatniks, Ginzberg and Burrows and Kerouac, there was Bloomsbury with Virginia Woolf, and her friends and family, so there's a long history of creative communities, and I think, I think sometimes we just focus too much on ourselves writing alone in a room, and not really thinking about those wider, that wider sphere of influence and at least when I was a writer earlier, I focus so much on my writing and writing in solitude that I didn't understand the value of having a community. And it was only by discovering the NaNoWriMo community, which is just so encouraging, and that encouragement I think, as I said earlier, it's really under rated, so whether you can find a writing group, go to your local library, libraries often times have writing communities they're working with, taking a class going to a writer's conference, I mean I can't tell you how my life as a writer has changed just because of the number of writers in my life now. It's a really empowering thing that helps me take those risks that I mentioned earlier. Where are we here? So yeah, none of us is as smart as all of us. I think of jazz musicians here in a group. You're riffing on the themes of the group around you, you don't even know, necessarily, where the music is going, because you're improvising, but somehow you're creating a beautiful song together and I think that's really important.