Community, I’m Not a Good Recluse

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While I stand here typing, wearing my artist’s outfit of purposefully chosen head to toe black accompanied by an air of ennui, I can’t help but think back to what I used to imagine when I heard the word “writer.” As a child, my dream was to be that author holed up somewhere quiet and beautiful, spending my days writing the novels that would allow me to live such a life. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to be a reclusive writer in this day and age—especially when I’m not penning bestseller after bestseller. I’m not even sure that would do the trick anymore.

A large part of my desire to live a solitary life had to do with my social anxiety. I’ve learned to manage that much better; social situations no longer scare me. Still, the picture in my head occasionally fills me with longing.

I’ve realized in recent years that not having a network of writer friends and professionals makes branching out in the writing world much more difficult. In any professional world lacking contacts leaves you in a bit of a bind. It’s not that I don’t want to forge friendships and professional relationships, I simply don’t know where to start. Which is ridiculous. And, I’ll admit, anxiety inducing.

Last year marked my first full year of not being a member of any kind of writing organization. It was a weird feeling being disconnected from such an important aspect of my life. I can’t say it’s the reason my writing output was pitiful, but it’s an item to be added to the ever growing list. One of my 2017 goals was to find some kind of writing community. At no point did I get off my butt and do so. Nor did I take advantage of any opportunities that came my way.

This year I really want to make a concentrated effort to engage with my fellow writers. I always worry that I have nothing to offer in return for expertise given, but I have a feeling I’m selling myself short (as usual). I lack engagement in the writing world at this point, for a number of reasons—clawing my way back in is a must.

On Monday Melissa mentioned her need to form a community for accountability reasons. I need that as well. Desperately. Physical, virtual, I don’t care. I need to put feelers out and discuss writing, not just read about it.

Apparently the recluse life does not work for me. At least at this point. I never thought I would say it, but I am a person in need of a community of like-minded individuals. Who knew?

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  1. I’ve definitely found creative momentum simply by being part of a group. Even just once- or twice-monthly check ins with a writer friend to share progress reports (or bemoan a lack of progress). To me, that’s a lot more feasible and less anxiety-inducing than other ways of finding community. And it’s a nice intermediate step to something with more organization/structure.

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