In another post, I discussed my naivety concerning writing and the writing process. Part of the process is spending long hours alone, writing. You become so involved in your process of writing that friendships, family activities often go by the wayside. One of the most common problems is that the author becomes so engaged with fictional characters than real people fade out of her life. How to combat this problem?
Join a writer’s group. Two years ago, I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America). In the Sacramento group and I suspect in the other chapters around the Nation, you will find a strong group of women. On a day-to-day basis, the authors are dealing with problems such as racial diversity, politics, human rights, status hierarchy, poverty, too much money, not enough money, travel, and many more. It is their job to present these problems with understanding and provide resolution in terms their readers can understand.
When I joined the organization, I thought I was joining because of the self-doubt for my ability to make the transition from a non-fiction writer to a fiction writer. In this group, I found information, support, and friendship with intelligent, hard-working women and men, making changes to the world through the printed word. Each day, with their written words, they are making changes to how people think. Some think it is all about romance. What I have seen is the presentation of problems and different options to handling the problems.
I originally went to the RWA monthly meetings, and now, of course, the meetings are through Zoom. Each meeting has a gifted speaker sharing knowledge they have gained while writing.
One of the spin-offs to the monthly RWA meetings is a bi-weekly group getting together on Zoom to write. They are called Writing Sprints. We meet on Thursday evenings, and Saturday afternoon, work individually with our writing projects in timed sessions. I was dubious at first. How could that possibly help? During those 1.5 hours, my productivity has increased tenfold. Just knowing that several other people are writing at the same time, somehow spurred me into a higher activity level than when I write on my own. It is a rocket boost that I need when I am overthinking, or my characters get into a mess that I can not rescue them.
I have since discovered there are international groups, members of Shut up and Write that are doing the same type of timed marathon writing. I currently joined a group in Munich, Germany, using Zoom to enhance their ability to bring writers together. Their writing sprints are longer (an hour at a time) and they still share information in between the sprints. It is a great way to meet people with the common interest of writing.
As a writer, I highly recommend joining some of these groups or at least trying different groups out to enhance your writing skills (they share many tips and information) in addition to your solitary writing process. The comradeship of other authors, the sounding boards, the opportunity for feedback, and collaboration are jewels in our crown.
Other writers groups: Shut up and Write, Scribophile, Writers Café, NaNoWriMo, Nanoland (Facebook) Critique Circle, Reddit/r/Write, and many more.