And suddenly, like light in darkness, the real truth broke in upon me; the simple fact of Man, which I had forgotten, which had lain deep buried and out of sight; the idea of community, of unity. –Ernst Toller
Today at work, a discussion ensued about relocating some of the employees to another location to free up some space. We have outgrown our office. My stomach churned and my clothes felt too tight as I sat there resolute that I wasn’t going anywhere. That was my gut response, to dig in my heels and refuse to budge.
I wasn’t trying to be difficult. To be honest, I was worried. I really like my colleagues and didn’t want to consider that our group might be dismantled. Part of the joy of going to work is the collaboration and shared experiences with my colleagues. It’s reassuring to know that I am not in the trenches alone.
Writing can leave the writers feeling like they’re in the trenches alone without another soul in sight. The very act of writing is solitary and often it is hindered, rather than helped, by interference from the outside world. When you sit at your computer, ready to give your life to your story, you are there alone.
Luckily, there is a vast community of writers out there. These folks populate blogs, Twitter and fill the seats at conferences and in classrooms. Some have books that line the shelves in stores and libraries. Others keep their masterpieces tucked away hoping for just the right opportunity to introduce their work to the world. When your comrades share their struggles and wisdom, they remind you that your experiences are universal. This little fact is easy to forget when you are staring at a blank screen with a cursor that is blinking and taunting you to create.
These are comforting thoughts. With the availability of a global community at my fingertips, I imagine a world where I can seek like minded people who have gone through, are going through, or plan to go through the very successes and challenges that I experience daily.
When I started writing in earnest, I planned to spend day after day at my computer until I created something great. I found myself frustrated and disconnected until I realized that there is a whole community of writers out there. This promise of community has been my buoy when I have felt weighed down by self-criticism and doubt.
So, what step can you take to grow your community today?