This week’s journaling prompts are about community — specifically how we do or do not create community and support for our journaling and writing lives.
This topic is on my mind because Sunday afternoon I attended a meeting of my writing club. Each month the club’s program director brings in authors and/or members of the publishing world to inspire us to believe in ourselves and to persevere, whatever dire predictions have come our way, to continue to write, submit our writing (if that’s our desire), and — no matter what — continue to learn and grow. Even when I learn nothing particularly new, I always go away feeling intellectually stimulated and connected to other writers.
Writing can be a lonely, isolating thing, especially now that things are shifting towards more and more online time. Even writing teachers and editors like myself do most of our work online. The question is, how do we perceive our writing life and community and is it sufficient?
Here are seven new journaling prompts to help you think more about this topic:
- In general, would you describe yourself as a person who networks and builds a “support community,” however you want to define the term, social or otherwise? In what ways yes and in what ways no? How important is it to you to have a support community?
- As a journal-keeper/life-writer, do you think of yourself yourself as isolated, engaged with other like-minded writers, or somewhere in between? Freewrite for ten minutes about where you see yourself on this spectrum and why.
- Are you satisfied with your current writing community? Why or why not?
- If you have a writing community to which you belong — a critique group, writer’s club, writing circle — write about your role in this (or these) group(s). Are you actively or passively engaged? Describe what you mean by your answer. If you don’t have a writing community, write about the reasons and/or obstacles to having one.
- How much time each day, on average, do you spend involved in online networking and how much time in real-time (person-to-person) networking? Do you feel satisfied with your investment of time, and what kinds of relationships, if any, have you developed each way?
- Describe your ideal writing community. What would it look like, how much time would you spend interacting with other writers, and what kinds of interactions would you have? What do you bring to the community?
- Regarding your current writing community, however small or large it is, make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for. Then, make a list of 5 things you can do to strengthen or enlarge your support community. And if you’re already happy with the community that you’ve developed, make a list of 5 more things you can contribute to your community.
Finally, I would love to hear from you about how you’ve built a support community for your writing — whether it’s a simple get-together with a writing buddy, a formal writing club, or something else. What works for you?