Hello gangsters. I hope you are enjoying catching up on all TLG’s gangster moves. The writing and editing must come alongside a little socialising though. Here is another discussion piece which focuses on the importance of socialising with other writers. Just make sure that when you do, they don’t steal your pen…
In the shadow of my last post discussion on The Creative Process, this month we look at one of the overlooked, but important aspects of the writing process: socialising.
It took me eight months to rock up to the Melbourne Social Writer’s Group. I was so nervous but I had to reach out – I was drowning in my own head. I walked along Melbourne’s beautiful river and in to the Wharf Hotel where I saw the Meet Up sign sitting on top of the table in between four other people. I introduced myself, laughed nervously, got a glass of wine and asked what everyone had been writing. All four people threw their laptops and print-outs on to my lap. As I read, more people turned up and they didn’t ask questions about who I was or what I was doing there, they didn’t speak in awkward polite tones about the weather or about the Kardashians and so immediately, I felt that I had found home.
It is important that as a writer, one reaches out in a social environment and talks about things that interest writers, not just for your ideas, but for you. You might find yourself lamely joking, ‘sorry, I can’t concentrate, I’m stuck in my character’s head on a planet in the future right now’ but no one judges you. And no one judges your ideas. There is a mutual understanding that each writer is on their own journey and it is up to the individual to make their own mistakes and learn from them.
Meeting with other writers is a great way to grow in your writing, not just in skill or experience but in confidence.
Your writing knowledge will improve based on being in a social learning environment but also the long known adage, ‘practice makes perfect’ makes a whole lot more sense when you can compare the efforts of other writers to yourself.
With the practice of skills, comes experience. You may find yourself helping others with something you have already experienced. This will consolidate what you know and give you a different perspective. With experience, comes confidence. As your confidence builds, you begin to make more decisions that will save you time and energy and improve your quality of writing. You will learn to openly accept criticism, as well as note it in other writers’ work, and provide feedback constructively. This can help you to develop your writing.
One other important aspect about socialising through various writing groups is that it brings all different types of writing styles, genres, experience, mediums to the table. This means that you can be inspired by others’ writing easily, creating more creative input.
If you haven’t joined a writing group and you are not interested, it doesn’t matter. You may use your social time in a different area such as trivia, social sports, cinema clubs, book clubs and don’t forget a night night out on the town! Whatever social experience it may be, as long as it gives you some perspective and knowledge about the world which will show in your writing.