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Friday, 20 April 2012

Finding Support For Writing

It’s easier to find support for mothering than for writing, because writing is an almost clandestine experience.  My main support is my husband who takes my writing as seriously as I do and is my number one cheerleader.  But lately I’ve been feeling it’s important to try and reach out to other writers going through the same thing, hence the blog.  After years of avoiding fellowship with other writers, I went to my first writing group.  I'm not sure I will go regularly, but I'm glad I went.  They were an encouraging, and gently critical bunch.  I listened to people read their pieces and I learned that there is always something good to find in someone else's work even if it's not your preferred genre, your cup of tea, even if it's hiding in there, way deep down.  Some of the work blew me away.  And I hope other members, even if they don't like short fiction, found something enjoyable about my work, too.  When a member began reading his science fiction piece, a genre I do not like, I was surprised that I was taken in by the world he had carefully created.  And I found myself championing him more than I had expected to in the group. 

I don't think I can go too often, because at this stage, I am ready to get critical feedback from folks who aren't afraid that I am going to break down in tears right in front of them.  But the writing group was a great way to see things about my work that weren't coming across well and to get some general writerly support.  I highly recommend any writer trying a writer’s group, if nothing else than for being reminded that there are as many different paths people take with their writing as there are writers.  There isn’t just one way.  Although none of the other writers at my group were mothering young children, they were wrestling with their own, equally challenging time constraints, managing to fit in their writing on lunch breaks, after work, or in the wee hours of the morning.  And this was perhaps the most important part about finding fellowship, knowing that time constraints are there for us all, that being exhausted after a day's mothering, (even though in my opinion more exhausting than a day at the office) doesn't have to get in my way.  After all, what struggling writer doesn't have a day job?  And what published writer doesn't have other demands, besides writing, put on their time?  I think finding a schedule is good practice for any self-guided pursuit and that in itself can be the kind of support you can give yourself without anyone else involved at all.  What are ways you find support for writing?  What are ways you work your writing into your home life?

Tune in next week as we discuss claiming the identity of a writer even when you’ve not yet published your book.  And we are so excited to have published writer Ruth Thomas, author of Things to Make and Mend, with us next week, answering our questions about how she manages mothering with writing.

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