Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Magic of Meeting Fellow Writers

Writers are everywhere. You meet them in the most interesting and unexpected places.

Case in point: I met published author Tracy E. Banghart during my vacation on Lake Temagami. Now, this is more or less the Canadian Outback. Not quite, but close. The main town by the lake is one of those you-sneeze-you-miss-it towns in which not a lot of people live year-round. Most are only there for the summer. On the lake itself, only the myriad of small islands spread out over the lake are inhabited. People spend their summers living in log cabins, most of them without electricity. Showers are a luxury. The over 3000 miles of shoreline are off-limits for building, mining or lumbering, which means the main land surrounding the lake and town consists of forest, a paradise for wildlife. It does get wilder and more remote in some areas, but this is like the frontier to such places.

What I'm trying to show is that meeting another writer there by accident is a bit like stumbling upon an elf in Moria, yet I did it. Someone on a neighboring island knew of another islander whose author-daughter was currently vacationing on the lake for not even two weeks. Two phone calls and a day later, I ended up spending several hours with Tracy and her family. I had a great time. Our main topic, of course, was writing and publishing. 

It's so much fun to talk about writing with other writers. Non-writers get this glazed look in their eyes after five minutes of listening to a writer yak about her craft - which I understand, because unless you're involved in it yourself in some way, it's rather boring. But when writers get together, we could gab for days about this one topic that connects us. It's almost magical.

That's why writers groups are the coolest thing since the first word was ever scratched onto a slab of rock. Writing in itself is a solitary experience, and many - myself included - are terrified of others actually reading their stories, because you always bare a piece of your soul in those words you eternalize. Which deep down you actually do (you really desperately do) want people to read - but only if they will like it. For which of course, there is no guarantee.

Only other writers can fully understand this terror. Or the fascination of the written word in any way, shape or form. Or the sheer need to write, as vital as the need to breathe. Or the frustration, the toil, the continual mental flogging and tremendous exertion of will it takes to keep going after that initial breeze of creativity and the wonder of the idea have passed. The small triumphs that arise from persevering when motivation is scarce; the joy of finishing anything, be it a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a book. Only other writers can fully appreciate and share these feelings.

This, to me, is a miracle. It's something I couldn't even imagine until about five years ago, when I joined my first online writing group, and then taking it to a deeper level only eight months ago, when I joined my first local one. As a direct consequence, I have begun actively seeking out the company of other writers, something I simply never considered doing before. Meeting others who go through the same trials, emotions, love is motivating, inspiring and has given me a whole new focus.

It's such a simple thing, really, yet it has had an invaluable impact on my life as a writer. That, to me, is the magic of meeting fellow writers.

By the way: if you enjoy Young Adult novels with sassy heroines and a touch of magic, check out Tracy's book "By Blood". I devoured it in three hours on the plane-ride home from Canada. Great read.


  1. Yay Pia!!! It was AMAZING to meet and talk writing with you! I had such a great time! And I'm so glad you enjoyed By Blood! :-D

  2. Shoot, I keep searching for the 'Like' button...

    Ditto! :-)