Ok, trying again:
One of the things I have learnt on my meandering & chaotic path towards being the best writer I can be is not to do it alone. I did that for many years & it’s a very isolated & frustrating existence. My dream when I was in high school was to write fiction for a living. Maybe that was a bit idealistic but it was my dream. I have been writing essays & little creative pieces since I was about 10 & short stories since my teens.
As often happens, life came along with a big pin called reality & cheerfully popped my little bubble. I basically abandoned my dream & wrote very little of any substance for about 13 years while I did my best to hack out a niche for myself in the corporate world, have & raise a family etc.
Throughout all this time though I was constantly frustrated as I knew I wasn’t doing what I wanted to. I dabbled with a bit of writing on & off but was never able to finish much.
The turning point for me came when I found out that there was a writer’s group right in my home suburb. What a difference it made to join & find myself among people who shared the same passion. I also became more actively involved in an online writers group I’d been a member of for years, mostly I just lurked & read others posts. Between these two actions I was really stimulated to take my writing seriously, even if on a part-time basis. I have written almost all of the material I’m proud of in the last three years.
So, for what it’s worth, I now encourage all aspiring writers who feel the same sense of isolation & frustration to find out if there is a writer’s group nearby & get involved. If there is no real-life group nearby there are some good ones online that can help as well. I enjoy being a member of both types. The interplay between the members will give you creative ideas & a good group will encourage members to read & comment on each others work so all grow & improve together. It also helps just to have friends with a common passion for when the road is narrow & the obstacles are many, large & intimidating.
The groups I belong to & am constantly grateful to are:
• Writers Ink in Alberton, South Africa &
• Cyber-Hacks, online group hosted on Yahoo Groups