I went to my very first writer’s meeting the other night. I actually got out of the house and did something. Exposed myself as a writer to my ‘peers’ and laid some of my work out for them to see. And it wasn’t as painful as I thought.
The event was hosted at Patchwork Collective in Ferndale, MI – a fantastic co-workspace that’s perfect for writing of any sort. It was an intimate evening with only a small group of attendees, perfect for great conversation and constructive sharing. (One of my biggest take-away’s was a whole slew of new tv shows and movies to watch!)
The real motivation to get out of my office and join the ‘land of the living’ was advice from Austin Kleon’s book “Show Your Work”. In it, he asserts that art isn’t created in a vacuum. That it takes a community to come around an artist to give feedback, to glean ideas from, and for the artist to give back to what’s going on around them. Austin says you don’t have to be a ‘genius’ but you need to be part of a ‘scenius’ – “creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.”
I recognize that I can read all the books on writing there are in the world, but unless I get out there and talk to other writers, I’m only getting half of the story. I need to hear what other people think of my work – and what other people are working on. There has to be a collaboration involved, a give and take for me to become a stronger writer. I have to contribute just as much as I get – probably even more.
I’m looking forward to venturing out to more writing meetings, this first one being so successful in that it didn’t ‘hurt’. I’m sure there will be others where I’ll feel the sting of some ‘tough love’. But for now, I’m still eager to be a part of a community. It’s nice to experience my own little bit of ‘scenius’!