No Writer is an Island

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Photo credit: redfloor

At the recent My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers retreat, we watched the movie, About a Boy. We dissected the movie to find the necessary elements for a solid story spine. In the movie, Hugh Grant’s character narrates the beginning and says, “Every man is an island.” The character worked hard at maintaining his island status until a young boy horned his way into the man’s life. By the end of the movie, the man realized how much he wasn’t an island at all, and liked it that way.

While at Deep Thinkers, I reunited with old friends and met new ones. Sitting in that gorgeous Cedar House, I listened to the brainstorming, laughing, and prayers mingling in the room. We came together through My Book Therapy, created by Susan May Warren to give writers a Voice and a sense of community.
Writers are not islands. Writing can be a solitary occupation, but it’s only as solitary as you choose to make it.
Even if you live in an area where writers are as few as three-dollar bills, the Internet allows us to stay connected to one another. The Ponderers are spread out from east to west coast, yet when something exciting happens, or I need prayer, they’re one of the first I go to.
Whether you’re new to writing or a veteran, get involved. Join writing organizations like ACFW or My Book Therapy. Participate with other writers in group blogs like ours. If your budget allows, attend a retreat or conference. I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away with a new friend or two.
English poet John Donne wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”

Writing takes an investment in time and money to be successful, but you also need to invest in relationships, if for no other reason than to let you know you’re not an island, but a continent connected to other writers who understand the sting of rejection, the excitement of muse, and the thrill of the first sale. Together, we can encourage and lift up one another as we forge ahead on the paths laid before us. 

Your turn: How do you keep writing from being so solitary? How have your writing friends changed the way you approach your dreams?
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  1. Jessica R. Patch

    I love having writer friends, and I've connected with the ones I'm closest to online! When I'm having a hard time, I know I can depend on one of them to brainstorm with me, listen,understand, and pray. Writing is solitary– meaning I'm the only one going to get that part done, but the journey doesn't have to be. I thank God for online groups and local chapters of writing groups. Glad you had a great time.

  2. Christine

    Until I joined My Book Therapy, I thought I was an island. Friends and family had no idea why I was writing. (Most of them still don't get it.) They smile and nod while I ramble on about the scene that's stuck or the fact that my villain isn't villainy enough. When I get online with MBT, others understand, sympathize, and work to help iron out the kinks. It reminds me of the verse "iron sharpens iron." I long for the time I can get together in person with other writers. Until then, I'll enjoy the online friendships.

    Thanks for the post today, Lisa!

  3. Gina Conroy

    I'm closer to my long distance writer friends than people I see with almost daily. There's just something about our writing struggles that make us kindred spirits in a way that nonwriters don't understand or can't relate to. And with email, text and facebook it's easier more than ever to keep in touch.

  4. Maggie

    I'm on the same wave-length here. I blogged on first readers and critique partners this morning.

    But I think you are focusing more on just the social aspect of being a writer. The Internet has really been amazing for me to find other writers who have similar backgrounds. It's a wonderful tool.

  5. patti.mallett_pp

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing a bit about your week at the Deep Thinkers conference. You, and the other attendees, were on my mind all week. (I'm really good at living vicariously through others. I might have even pretended to be there with you a few times.) My first online connections were through NaNo and writing classes. It was amazing to me how open and friendly both writers and teachers were. Our NaNo Facebook group has kept on this year and I've begun to connect with other writers (like you!) online. As a newcomer to MBT, I look forward to making connections there. Thanks for the reminder that we are not, as we might sometimes feel, alone! And that's good news!!

  6. Katie Ganshert

    So very true! That retreat sounds heavenly! I can't imagine trying to travel this path without the support and friendships I've made along the way. Nor would I want to! The relationships are what make this so rewarding!!