Friday, January 11, 2013

Writing in the Dark: Learning from Others

On Wednesday I had a speaking engagement with the Idaho Writers League (IWL) in Coeur d’Alene. I had set my alarm for 5:00 am and as soon as my alarm went off and I flipped back the covers to get out of bed, our power went out. Luckily I had printed out the audience handouts and my notes the previous day, but for the next couple of hours I stumbled around our dark house getting ready to head out for my presentation with only the flashlight app on my iphone to guide me.

That’s how it is sometimes. We fumble around and make do until the light shows us the way. This is true in many facets of life, including in our writing life. As beginners we often stumble around in a dark new world full of unknowns, looking for guidance not from an iphone app, but from those who have come before us and left a trail of experience for us to follow. We read books written by authors we admire and try to emulate their writing style, we read books written in genres in which we want to write, we read how-to book after how-to book to learn as much as we can about the craft of writing, all serving to broaden our knowledge base and begin shining a light on our own path towards becoming the writer we hope to become.

I was reminded when talking at the IWL meeting this week what a wonderful way the writers in these groups support each other in their work, experiences, and growth as writers. They are, in broad terms, on the same path. Their energy, excitement and eagerness to learn inspire me. Writers groups are a great way to connect with other writers in your area. If you’ve never attended a writers group, try one out by attending a meeting. You will find friendly faces, new writing contacts, acceptance, encouragement and guidance.

The Coeur d’Alene chapter of the IWL meets the second Wednesday and the third Thursday of each month. For details of meeting places, scheduled events, and membership, visit their website: Idaho Writers League - Coeur d'Alene Chapter. You may also contact the current President of the Coeur d’Alene chapter, Faye Higbee at

Another high-energy, active group in the north Idaho area is the Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers group, which meets the first Thursday of each month in Spokane. For details of meeting places, scheduled events, and membership, visit their website: Spokane Authors and Self Publishers. For additional information, contact Dave McChesney at

You can find information on more local writing groups listed in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

Connect with your fellow writers and let them and their experiences help light your path, and you theirs.

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