Sunday, August 05, 2007

It Takes A Village...

Writing is a lonely business, especially at 5 in the morning when the rest of the world (sanely) sleeps. But writing is a process, and to do it well, you often have to dig deep, fall into dark spaces that are too small for another voice to enter. Sometimes that chasm holds my psyche close, too close, and the residue of funked-up isolation and darkness follows me into my 'daily' life. Other times I get frustrated, hit a wall and the story shrivels up like a slug on salt. More often, I read my story and wonder why the hell I'm wasting my time writing such drivel.

It's at these moments when I'm grateful for my friends who write. They UNDERSTAND. They GET IT. We talk each other out of despair and feelings of inadequacy. But we share much more than red pens held to each others' manuscripts. We share a camraderie, an understanding that writing is HARD, that getting the words down is a damn difficult business, full of sweat and tears and exhaustion. There are many in the business - writers, agents, publishers - who state that writing with peer groups is dangerous to novice writers (i.e., those yet unpublished) than writing alone because it's difficult for novices to weed out sound, constructive advice from that provided out of ignorance, sloppiness, and insecurity. In my not-so-humble opinion, I believe receiving criticism and feedback from peers - and providing the same - is immensely valuable, a necessary part of the writing learning curve. It is the practice of discernment that makes for better writing.

My stories and poems are better for the careful reviews of fellow writers. I have friends and family (my dear hubby, Jeanne, Mark P, Lynne) to thank, as well as my on-line forumistas at Writers Digest. Instructors and classmates in my writing classes also have helped me become a stronger writer.

But I am most grateful for the talented writers in the Nudge-Nudge Collective, my on-line writing group. The NNC is comprised of Steve from Beantown (PRODIGAL SON), Margeurite from Joisey (FALSE ALIBI), Kim from the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula (TAKING ON WATER), and Deborah from the soft foothills of North Carolina (PAINTED BLACK). These thriller/mystery writers are more than just writers - they are friends. Together, we've shared our stories, those for publication and those private, sad, and joyous ones that will never see black ink.

My other source of writing inspiration is Chrys, my friend from Orcas Island. She's penning her memoir (MOONCHILD), a fabulous read about her first year away from a chaotic yet over-protected home as a young albino rocker-chick stuck in the Eastern Maryland shore. Chrys and I have a challenge: mail the penultimate drafts of our manuscripts to each other on September 15. We've been with each for the first draft and parts of the second. Wish us luck.

I am blessed to live in such a supportive, visionary village. Thank you, fellow travellers. Without you, the journey would not be as productive - or fun. Peace. Linda


  1. Awww, I feel so honored : ) It's especially cool that you called me a rocker chick : )

  2. Lynne Gilliland GarberAugust 6, 2007 at 3:21 PM

    Thanks for directing me toward your blog. And for encouraging my own writing. I am out of the loop on Ben's adventures so we need to sit down and catch me up.