I have wonderful friends on and offline. I have a community for Austen/Brontë-gazing and -gaping, I have my LIW peeps, and I have a lot of friends who are generally just bookish, love books, would marry books if they could, like me. Recently I’ve started squinting around in the blaze of internet for a group of writerish friends. I mean, I do have several of those, but I feel like I could do with many more.
I wrote about that online peptalk I attended a while ago. Well, I guess I still have the notes I made and the blogposts, but what mostly stuck in my mind, was the whole concept of a group of people to inspire me and be inspired by me.
I recently reconnected with a friend who I’ve known for twenty years. She’s has a doctorate in Modern Finnish and has lately been branching out from her academic texts into fiction. She used to write fiction as a kid but only returned to it last Autumn.
We met a month ago and had a nice long talk about writing and I made her borrow my copy of Writing Down the Bones (by Natalie Goldberg) which I thought would be perfect for her at this point. It breaks a lot of preconseptions about creativity and writing and opens up new ideas and attitudes towards it.
As my friend is a researcher and writes academically for her work, she isn’t even thinking about making fiction writing anything but a hobby. But when I talked with her last weekend again (she loves the Goldberg book, by the way), I realised how much I want to have these kinds of discussions.
I talk a lot about writing here on the blog, and also I have a Finnish blog dedicated just for writing matters. I tweet and chat about writing with people on Instagram, but I’m now looking for some kind of community to connect to.
And yes, there’s the ready-made community of Story. It would be so easy to just jump right in, but ultimately I would like to talk about this stuff in the language I do most of my writing. In someone’s livingroom, with a glass of wine or a mug of tea in hand. There’s the whole time difference debaucle. And I can’t currently afford the membership for Story 😦
My doctor friend and I discussed writing groups I’ve attended during the years, because my friend is considering joining one in her home town. She lives in the capital, so I recommended for her to go for it. My general experience of writing groups has been good. But where I come from, groups like that don’t grow on trees. They hardly even exist.
To exemplify my hometown: When I was in college, we had an Irish trad band and two of our members arranged both Irish trad dance and historical dance courses. Those courses were full of exchange students — which is nice, but doesn’t really make for a lasting group when they go back home at the end of term. We also tried to arrange trad music sessions, for years. We were the only ones to show up. Even all of the bandmembers didn’t show up for those. Yet there were instances when friends from other towns drove hundreds of kilometers (one came 350km north for our session) to attend, but the whole thing dried up because no one local ever came. The mentality in my town has long been: oh, someone’s organizing something nice? Well, I’ll ask if a friend went and if they enjoyed it, I’ll go next time. But there won’t be a next time if no one shows up the first time!!!
You can probably read between the lines that I’ve been exhausted and downcast by this attitude for years. Anyway. I don’t feel like my option is to try to arrange a local writing group. So now I’m considering other options.