I know what you are thinking… sure you are writing. But, I promise you, that is just what we do! My writer weekends come in many shapes and sizes, everything from an afternoon in a football den, to a 3-day weekend on the beach in Oscoda (I promise, we write). What they all have in common are fabulous friends, a common focus and, of course, a love of writing.
While getting together with non-writing friends is fun, generally the most productive thing that gets done is solving the worlds problems over a few beers. This is super beneficial as well, because we all need time to unplug, but doesn’t really give you quality time with your writer self. What I found with writers, is that while they are friendly and don’t mind the occasional chat, they are prepared to get down to the business of putting words on the page. It may seem strange to you that it is fun to sit in a room full of people who aren’t saying a word to each other over the clicking of the keyboards, but I promise the time spent in silence is well worth it! Here is a short list of benefits I have found by participating in, or even hosting, one of these events:
Designated Writing Time – This is pretty important, much more so to me in the last couple of years. My first few books were written at home, when I could make time for them after all of my other responsibilities and obligations. Note I used the word “after.” What has changed for me in the last year is that I now make my writing a priority, and that can be a somewhat lonesome endeavor. Writing Events help with that.
My first step was to start attending my monthly Chapter meetings. This took me some time to do as I had a commitment on the same night that I needed to get out of. I was nothing, if not tenatious. After a little over a year, I managed to break free of the other committment and replace that scheduled time slot for something that was going to enhance my author career. Digging my heels in and insisting I needed to make a change was the best thing I ever did.
The contacts I made at the Chapter allowed for me to add cooperative writing time, and soon I was participating in a weekly writing session at a local coffee shop. It took me some time to think of it as an “appointment” but that was precisely what I made it. It is a reoccurring event on my calendar and my family knows exactly where I am each Wednesday night. I have managed to sneak regular writing days in with a different group of writer friends on Sundays, which works out fantastic for me since that provides me with two “designated” writing days each week. Not to say I don’t sneak it in more if I need to, but if the week gets crazy, I know I can count on having at least those two days when my writing will come first.
Brainstorming – These type of sessions are invaluable for brainstorming, in that you can pose a question and get an immediate answer. Sometimes several depending on how many folks you write with. Want to know how to describe an eye color? Or what type of pizza a kilt-wearing shifter might like? There is plenty of time to pose questions between sprints, get the answers you need, and get right back to the business of writing.
I can’t tell you how much help I have received on blurbs, pitches, scenes and character development. And while I may or may not have gotten there myself at some point, I do feel my growth as a writer happened a tiny bit faster because of my exposure to other types of problem-solving. There is always more than one way to tackle an issue, and by learning how other folks do it, you can find the best way for you to move forward. By the way, the kilt-wearing shifter goes all in and gets meat lovers for his pizza of choice.
Friendship – This is, by far, the best benefit to writing with others. I have become really good friends with the people I write with, and have been welcomed into their lives with open arms. I have found that the #WritingCommunity is gracious, often taking the time to answer questions of any level for those who are truly seeking answers. My world would have been much less diverse and interesting if I hadn’t put myself out there and connected with other creatives.
I love my friends and family, but there is something really beneficial to having friends who are following the same creative path as you are. Writing dates are the best time to chat about the challenges you are going through and to vent about things that other folks in your life usually don’t get. Don’t get me wrong, they can be supportive, and often are, but there is something really special about being able to connect with someone who understands the path you are walking. That can be said about most things.
Writer’s weekends are more than getting together with friends who have common interests, they are about putting your needs as a writer first. The untold story you have inside is longing to get out, I know you feel it, I’ve been there. The best thing you can do for yourself is give yourself permission to write it. Schedule the time with yourself, just as you would any appointment, you won’t be sorry you did.
Do you participate in Writer’s Weekends, Write-Ins or pop into your local cafe for a writing session? What benefits have you found have come your way? Let me know in the comments!