A Coze, A Chat, A Call

I'm breaking with the theme, 'cause I've got something important to say before I forget. I've a feeble mind, but it is all my own and I've to work with what I've been given in this life. Duh, can't work with what you're not given very well can we....but enough digression into silliness. That too is a gift of mine. I wonder if an excessive amount of silliness comes with story-telling. Hmmm. Something to ponder later. (Trying to picture Stephen King being silly. Why does that image scare me?)

Recently I was given the gift of an afternoon with a writer, someone whose work I have enjoyed in the past and expect to in the future. We zoomed through the here's my kid's picture portion of the social dance and were soon immersed in the important stuff--writing. Comparing notes. A how do you do that verses why did I do this. The mind-candy of two artist professionals up to their eyebrows in the exciting stuff of life--attempting to put words to the art of creating.

We spoke of different parts of language. We exclaimed over other's important ways of achieving. We laughed over shared experiences and confusions in our writerly worlds. We talked of things we treasure for inspiration. We quietly coveted something of each other's.

We shared frustrations and talked in depth of them. And, best of all, we had enough time to help solve problems by looking at them from different directions for each of us. We, as individuals, left knowing ourselves to be inspired, refreshed, and newly girded to take on the continuing frustrations of our craft. Our poor ditched husbands had to wait on us for we couldn't bear to quit. Not quite yet.

What did all this we-ness have? A refreshing feeling of belonging, of being different but the same. A conversation with my plumber might be entertaining, intriguing, and even enlightening, but somehow it isn't the same as talking with another writer.

Writers spend a lot of time working alone. We can't find out about writerly processes and ask questions that will clarify meaning unless we find other writers willing to answer questions. My experience with RWA (Romance Writers of America) and WARA writers (Wichita Area Romance Authors) are that they are wonderfully willing to answer questions. I've been able to ask hard questions about the life of a writer once you're published and no longer working away from the public's eye. Writers have been willing to answer questions about how writing brains function. They've attempted to explain how different processes work or at the very least, how it works for them. That's important, for every writer's story-telling process is different. Sometimes they are similar in some ways. Sometimes as different as sheep from chickens.

Exploring current information about a writer's craft vocabulary is also a wonderful verbal adventure. With WARA, there always seems to be someone handy to get a term defined. Questions like what is POV? Point of View. How many is too many? Jury still out on that one. Conventional wisdom says one. Maybe two. What is WIP? Work in Progress (No matter how old or stale it is. They haven't yet coined an acronym for Work In Neutral Covered With Dust.)

The point I'm trying to make and have probably done a very poor job, is that it is vital, if you're going to be a writer, no matter if you're published or not, to TALK to other writers--in person is best, but by phone will do. Communication in other ways is fine for specifics, but there are nebulous things that come to the surface when we TALK. Important things. Even if one of the writers is a little shy. That's ok. Talking, however, is paramount. I have not found a substitute for it. Whether a coze in a cafe over breakfast or long chat over lunch at a writer's conference, verbal communication with other writers is a vital act for a writer.

I can still count on two hands my one-on-one conversations with other writers. I would not trade them for the world. Please try and get a one-on-one with another writer. You'll find yourself pleased and if you've been doing writing a long time, attending regular meetings, and doing things in a group or alone, surprise and delight yourself with just one writer for a few hours. Bring some paper along just in case, and let that margarita or diet coke do its work loosening the moment and stepping back to talk 'shop'. If you can't squeeze in a coze or a chat. A call will do.


Reese Mobley said...

Sounds like a good idea. Nothing like other writers to validate our drive and passion for this crazy business. Other writers GET us when no one else does. Writers are generous spirits and we love to share. I dare someone to try to get us to shut up when we're all together. Good luck with that!

Nina Sipes said...

Oh, Reese, you're so write. My darling husband wants to come to writer's conference next time I go. I can't see how he's going to take his head spinning...as well as understanding our special language--like POV and WIP.....

Joan Vincent said...

Nina, such an afternoon is very inspiring and uplifting for the writer's spirit! I don't think there's a better way to get out of or past writer's doldrums. I value all my "writer" friends more than they'll ever know.

Nina Sipes said...

Spending time with you was quite inspirational. I've gotten all kinds of stuff worked on since our afternoon. Good stuff too!

Joan Vincent said...

That's the best news, Nina. Write on!