Yes, I did the unthinkable – I started a writer’s group!
Call it an itch that needed scratching. A thirst that needed quenching.
But whatever you call it, just know that I’m pinning the blame for it solely on Covid-19. Or on the lonely journey of every writer. Or on a whim and a lark that came to me on a super boring and aimless Thursday evening in July.
Pick any one of these.
Whatever the case, the deed’s done. With the help of someone I barely know, we created a private Facebook group for writers just over a week ago.
Specifically, writers who also happen to be dads.
Funny platform choice for me actually, considering I’ve stopped posting on my FB since 1st Jan this year. Call it my 2020 detox from social media (yes I’ve “disappeared” from my other social media platforms too).
But having had a love/hate relationship with FB for over 15 years now, I couldn’t stay away completely even though I managed so far to resist posting anything there.
As such, despite the fact that I haven’t posted since New Year’s Day, I continued to check up on FB friends and newsfeeds. I even joined a couple of closed FB groups that I came across over the past months.
But this isn’t about FB.
It’s about how I found the courage to join a dad’s only group and boldly posted an invite there for daddy writers to join me. In doing so I was shocked to receive not one, not two, but seven responses!
That’s seven more than I expected.
Seven potential lifelong friends on the endless road that is the writer’s journey.
Seven guys to confide in and commiserate over the joys and woes of writing.
Seven buds to weep with and wrestle against the neverending Resistance faced by every writer that’s ever lived.
That will ever live.
[I will, as promised in a past blog post, share more about this monster called Resistance. But for now, just know that it comes in all manner, voice, shape, and size!]
And (drum rolls please) here’s the first Resistance: Now what?!
Errr…I guess I was so eager, almost desperate, to start a writer’s group that I hadn’t really thought this thing through.
What do I do, now that there is such a group? I can almost hear my Resistance taunting me in the background: “Have you, the greenhorn writer, dragged others unwittingly into something you don’t even know the first thing about?!” Tsk Tsk!!
After all, it began as one novice blogger looking for other guys who liked to write (since none existed in my circle of contacts).
Guys who don’t mind making friends with me, and who understood the loneliness and challenge of writing.
Buddies who could encourage me when the going gets tough (over to you Billy).
And the going can get very tough.
Like when you’re facing a pile of your own vomit manuscript, knowing that you must now undertake the unpleasant task of rewriting. Yet you just can’t bring yourself to do it!
Or when you post up what you thought was an inspired blog only to have no one read or like it.
Or when you let your essay structure bounce all over the wall like a magic carpet that refuses to descend, because you can’t pin down what the essay is about.
Oh gosh! I sound like I’m using this writer’s group to whine and complain.
But before you judge me too harshly, please be assured that I know all too well this cannot in any way form the basis of a community that will go the distance.
Even I would drop out of it after a while if the only one bringing stuff to the discussion table were me, myself, and I!
A community by definition has to bond, not merely over shared interests, but also shared lives.
In this case, the writer’s life.
Much as I desire to connect because I wish to have people to descant concerning writing, I too must openly and willingly share, support, and encourage everyone in the group.
In short, give as much (or more) than I receive.
So to the seven gentlemen who signed up, if you’re reading this, please know that even though I’m kinda making things up as I take this first tentative step with our new Dads Who Write FB group, I really want to share, support and encourage you in your writing life too.
Tell me how, even as I share my writing struggles with you.
Stronger together, yes? (*palms firmly clasped in a hopeful prayer stance*)