#5 Writing tip: Writing is not a solitary sport

Writers at Virginia Piper Writing House

Actual writers look like this. Kris Tualla, Tisha Pelletier and Laurie Fagen at the Virginia G. Piper Writer’s House at Arizona State University. ©2010 ANVidean

Picture a writer.

Do you imagine a frazzle-haired, pajama-clad recluse sitting at odd hours and brooding over a computer screen, fiendishly snacking or imbibing caffeine? Perhaps she paces the floor, or maybe bangs her forehead on the desk, until inspiration hits. She might spend long hours taking guidance from characters who “tell her what to write.” She may even pour through defunct manuals explaining all the nitpicky grammatical rules no one pays attention to any more in this day of abbreviating and texting?

Yeah, that’s how the movies depict us. But, in real life, writing isn’t effective in solitary. Great writers get out and explore life, listen to conversations, try out experiences, and share their craft.

Sure we sit in the quiet when we’re actually putting words together, but most of the writing takes place mentally and experientially before we sit down at our computer or notebook. At least it should.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, or business memos…input from external sources encouraging emotional phrasing and storytelling gets your words read. Here are some ideas:

• Sit in a coffee shop to listen to conversations and watch mannerisms.

• Try doing something new, perhaps even something your book character or employees do, and note your emotional and mental reactions to include in your writing.

• Join a writing association. It can help you, even if you’re not writing books.

• Meet with a critique partner or group.

• Form your own writing group like my Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) tribe.

What do you do to garner input and experiences for your writing?

Share your best writing tip and get featured: ALWAYS

• Need contacts to help your writing?  • Want advice about your writing business?  • Like to hang with other cool writers?
If so, my tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.
Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting.

ALWAYS gathering
May 8, 2012

Share your best writing tip and be featured in my Words•Music•Village blog

Expect an informal, let’s-help-one-another lunch gathering. Come ask questions, gain resources and meet other freelance writers. We’ll share our own best writing tips and hear what works for others. I’ll gather the tips and write up each one,  along with background on you and your writing, as an entry in my new series of writing-tip blogs.

Also, if you have something noncommercial you’d like to showcase — a tool, a resource, a tip — please contact me and I’ll slot you in for 15 minutes of our undivided attention at the meeting.

Next gathering:
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(Freelancers typically meet for lunch on the second Tuesday, and authors on the fourth Tuesday of each month.)

T.C. Eggington’s
1660 S. Alma School Rd., #129
Mesa, AZ 85210
(Just one block south of I-60 on the west side of Alma School Road, toward the south end of the strip mall)

A writing tip, and your own lunch.

PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Attending” link on our Facebook Event page
• Emailing Ann Videan with “ALWAYS May 8” in the Subject line

If you’ve RSVP’d and run into a conflict later, please let me know before the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group. Cheers!

We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

Please do add a your best writing tip in the comments below, but I will feature only those who attend the meeting in my blog. I’m encouraging face time here, wordsmiths!