In recovery mode from a long weekend at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Writers Conference (DFWCon). I had a wonderful but exhaustive time from learning, catching up, and making new friends.
As my fellow writers know, learning new things is exhilarating. How many times have any of us been pulled down a rabbit hole when looking up a fact for a story. I have much more research to do now.
As writers, we work alone. We are at our best crafting alone. It is our natural state. So why would three hundred plus writers want to spend time confined in a conference center all weekend? Learning and sharing. We all enjoy writing, and the one thing we all enjoy almost as much as writing is talking about writing.
I can hear you now: “I’m an introvert. I don’t like to talk to people.” That’s what makes this writers’ conference so unique: We’re all introverts and don’t like to talk to people.
The one piece of advice I give to people who tell me they want to write is to join a community of writers. While we are all naturally introverts, but we need unity, conversations about writing, empathy from someone else whose story has just been rejected, and celebrations when someone we don’t know tells us how much they liked a story we wrote. It seems counterintuitive that writers would need other writers to be at their best, but it is what it is. And the people putting together and attending DFWCon are welcoming to all writers. If I lived in the Dallas area, I would belong to this group.
I do not live in the D/FW area. I live in the Austin. When I first left my day job to write full time, I neither wanted nor needed to be with other writers. Soon, I realized something was missing. I joined a local critique group. Soon I joined other writer groups to discuss craft, publishing, researching, and the nuances of living as a writer. It did not take long before I realized my writing improved. Then one day it hit me: Yes, writing is a solitary venture. Authoring requires community.
I still belong to multiple writing groups. Each group provides me with the support I need to process the random scribbling of a writer into a product of an author.