A Girl with a Pen Meets More of the Same
I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve wanted to write ever since I discovered my very first, dog-eared anthology of American literature, scored for $2.00, while tagging along on one my mother’s summer yardsaling excursions at the age of twelve. At least that’s the point in time I identify with my first knowing that I wanted to write things, weave stories. Now, I’m one term away from graduating with a B.A. in English Literary Studies, and I haven’t lost any of that fascination with the creative process of producing literature. A fascination, really, with how personal it is. I believe an author lives her fullest when she is writing, and becomes immortal when her works are read and re-read by others. Writing the world is transformative and freeing.
Because I believe writing is such a personal thing, I’ve sometimes tried to imagine the female authors of great classics, such as Virginia Woolf, writing their masterpieces in quiet solitude. I imagine Woolf writing “To the Lighthouse,” while sitting in “a room of her own” (sorry, I couldn’t resist), blissfully unaware of the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The writer, as I’ve sometimes imagined her, is a like a nun, cloistered in the sacred writer’s space. It’s all very idyllic, and that solitude can definitely be beneficial at times, but I’ve since come to realize something: a writer becomes a really good writer, becomes better capable of wringing lilies from acorns, when she writes with others, when she enters that hustle and bustle that is the writing community.
When I was taking my creative writing courses as an underclassmen, I was amazed at how, when there was a deadline and I knew my fellow classmates would be critiquing it, I could put out a fifteen page short story like nothin.’ I mean, I just did it. I didn’t spend time deliberating, fretting, having anxiety attacks about. I just did it. And to my greater surprise, my short stories earned several accolades. If I had retreated into solitude and shied away from collaborative interaction, I may have remained sitting in that room of my own, for months. I need structure. I need peer review. I need a support group. Without these things, I sort of just fail to write good stuff. Or even fail to write, period!
That is precisely why blogging has been of tremendous help to me as a writer. I really didn’t see it coming-- I didn’t know that starting my modest little creative writing blog over at Literary Legs would result in my being jerked out of an extended bout of writers’ block. I didn’t know how networking with other writers and bloggers could kick start my own creative impulses! Many of the acquaintances I’ve made with other writers has come through writing forums, as well. I recently joined SheWrites, a women’s writing community. Incidentally, the subheading of the site reads, “A room of her Own Just Got Bigger.” I love that!
I’ve learned that writing doesn’t cease to be personal when you enter into dialogue about your writing. Rather, I think, it gives the time spent writing more significant. If you are a writer, I encourage you to open up that writing space to include the writing community. It’s a learning and growing experience, and your writing will definitely improve!