In a recent discussion with a group of other writers, we talked about “finding the choir”, those who are like-minded in wanting to write and celebrate creative process, reading, and writing. Anne Rice said, “There may be writing groups where people meet but it’s occasional. You really do it all at your own computer or your own typewriter by yourself.” And while that quote rings true in the discipline of writing and necessity to create that somewhat solitary space for getting those words on the page, writing also seems very much a public or social act in that before the writing happens or after the writing has happened, there is reading, observation, experience, and even a joining of those practices, crafting with others who are also writing. There is that persistent image of the lone writer at the tabletop or desk, under a glowing light beaming against the wall. That image is a familiar one, and is sketched across myriad walls as the shadows of writers doing all types of writing, everywhere.
With wisdom and a poignant tongue, Zadie Smith, spoke truth when she said, “All that matters is what you leave on the page.” And that a writer should, “Protect the time and space in which you write.” This is what many “writers” know is true. However, there are wide curious creative spaces between the actual act of writing, pen to page, fingertip to screen or key, and the inspiration, motivation, or sheer will to write. Inspiration and motivation will not get words on the page, but it is a part of the process. And just as much as writing is a process to be cured, it also seems a process to shared. That resolve a writer has when they are lone at their workspace facing their ideas, hopes, fears, or deadlines can be strengthened by the echoed harmonies of other such writers finding their way with their own words in their own respective critical and creative spaces. There is value in connecting with other writers.
Important is having a “choir”, a network of other writers in which to learn, be inspired, challenged, and supported. Writing is a lone matter, but a writer need not stand alone. We live in a time where building a creative network is within reach via social media, our communities, and in our professional realms. That network or “choir” is the system a writer can call on, participate in when the writing is happening and even when at times it is not. A writer finding their way to their words is a process. And during that process, it is completely normal to feel unsure, less sturdy, exhausted, and lonely. But in this modern time when those who are writing or have to write, are within virtual reach we can literally and figuratively reach out (during our own respective process) for a bit of creative communion.
Where do you find creative communion? Where do you find your choir?