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Writing Motivation: Crafting Community

by Jana Carver

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we writers need each other. While it’s true that writing is, at its core, a solitary endeavor—no one can craft our books for us—it is also a feat that requires support in the form of fellow writers. We inspire each other, we cheer each other on, and we understand the emotional weight that comes with bringing a story into existence in a way that only writers can.

Let’s face it. Most if not all of us have encountered confusion when it comes to our seemingly random (and sometimes concerning) search histories; our battles with the emotional and physical fatigue that can hit before, during, or after writing; our dread of the blank page, which, when expressed, might be met with an infuriating “Just start writing, then.” These are things we as writers must band together to combat so we don’t buy into the assumption that it’s as simple as some think. Because if we’re supposed to be able to just start writing, then maybe our paralysis is a sign that we aren’t cut out for this, or that we’re lazy, or worse, that we have nothing to say. Thankfully, this is where our beautiful community can swoop in to remind us that the creative process is exactly that: a process.

This rang true for me a few months ago, when a new idea hit me, and I was overwhelmed by its ever-growing plot. I felt like it was getting away from me before I’d even started, and the fear of being incapable of getting the idea out in any form was quick to crop up.

Thankfully, this fear didn’t stop me from sharing the idea with a close friend and fellow writer. I pushed my anxiety to the side, gave a rundown of the plot with excitement, and my friend quickly grew excited about it, too. The difference was my friend also had distance. They were able to listen to the idea and ask probing questions about the characters that I hadn’t considered because I was caught up in plot. The attention my friend paid to the characters helped me scale my focus down and think less about their circumstances and more about the emotions and motivations that got them there.

It was like striking a match. Through multiple text conversations, the two of us psychoanalyzed the story’s main characters and their failing marriage. My friend enthusiastically contributed to the conversation, just as invested as I was, and we soon discovered not only who these characters were as people, but how that informed the way they approached their relationship. Talking with my friend brought the characters to life, and that’s what gave me the courage and confidence to create a new document, in its dreaded-blank-page glory, and start writing.

So, if you are stuck or overwhelmed with a piece you’re working on, consider sharing it with a writer friend you trust. If you do, their curiosity might just lead to a crucial revelation about your characters, and their excitement might just be the spark of inspiration you need to keep writing.


 

Jana Carver is a fiction candidate in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Creative Writing MFA program. Her writing focuses on the unscripted oddity that is growing up and aims to capture the unforeseen feelings that span the gap between childhood and young adulthood. Her reading preferences are as colorful as her hair, and her favorite pastimes (aside from reading) are snuggling with her cat and having unintentionally deep conversations with friends.


Background Photo by Fabio Bracht on Unsplash

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