Do You Need to Be Closer to More Writers?

author write-insIn real estate, they say it’s all about location, location, location. But, does the same hold true for writing? Not in terms of the state or country you live in, but in terms of whether your write alone or in proximity to other writers.

While we generally all have writer buddies from whom we ask for advice or critiques, do we have buddies we actually sit and write with? I mention this because my local writers group started a weekly “write-in.” During that time, group members meet at a public library and write together. No, not on the same project, just in the same vicinity as each other. Write-ins are fairly common during National Novel Writing Month.

When I first heard the idea of a write-in, I was a little dubious. I mean, going to write somewhere seemed like I was just losing time. I mean, commuting to the location was time that could have been spent writing, right? However, I also don’t see my writing buddies often enough and thought the camaraderie would be good, so I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did, because I found that I really like the write-ins and tend to be very productive there.

So, I thought I’d elucidate some of the benefits that occur when you go write with your author brethren.

  1. You’ve got a definitive, overriding purpose. You’ve just left your nice comfy home to go somewhere else to write. You got dressed, perhaps combed your hair, maybe showered or brushed your teeth, and pretty much made yourself presentable so you could get to the write-in. Now that you’re there, you’re going to write.
  2. Peer pressure. Despite what after-school specials from the 80s would have you believe, peer pressure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As you sit around the table with your peers nearby, all typing, clacking furiously on the keys, you can’t just sit there and surf the Internet. You have to type. You have to do something. You can’t watch the latest Facebook video or everyone will know. You’ve got pressure to actually get something accomplished. Do you want to be the only one who only managed a couple of paragraphs at the end of the session?
  3. A plan. While you can have a plan at any location, I’ve found that the drive over to the library serves as a moment to think about what it is I’m going to write during the session. It gives me a chance to organize my ideas and get in a good frame of mind for writing.
  4. The social aspect. Even though we’re writing during the session, usually we wrap up with a little chatter at the end. What is everyone working on? Has anyone noticed a new trends from their own book sales? If someone heard a useful piece of advice they’ll often share it. It’s a nice time to wrap things up and get a little writer connection time.

Now, a write-in isn’t the only time you should be writing, but I think it’s a great time to get some intensive writing done and have a little camaraderie afterwards (well, as much camaraderie is allowed in the venue; we have more fun when we pick a coffee shop). However, getting that once-a-week dedicated time can spur you to be productive later on in the week. You did it once, so it means you can do it again.

So, how about you? Is a write-in your style or not?

Author: RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist turned novelist. By day, she writes thrillers with a touch of romance. By night, she practices the art of ninja mom. To learn more about her or her books, visit her website or her Author Central page.

9 thoughts on “Do You Need to Be Closer to More Writers?”

  1. I can see that such “live” connections can feel supportive and are motivating but they wouldn’t work for me. What I do like, however, is to meet with one or two writing friends over coffee. Lately my closest writer friend has had some stuff going on in her life and we haven’t had coffee in over a month. I miss that and find that it does have an effect on how much I write at home.

    1. Well, writerly connections generally are good. So long as the writers are energizing you, it’s good to get together with them. If they’re narcissists or otherwise difficult people, then obviously that’s not good.

      Hopefully you and your bud can meet up soon.

  2. Writers in a traditional newsroom typically have to put up with a lot of noise, people stopping by their desks with questions, the demands of editors, etc., so it is possible to write in a group setting.

    Personally, I can’t think of anything more disruptive to a fiction writer than a write-in, but if there are people who find support in it, more power to them.

    1. Well, I’ve worked in a newsroom, and the write-in is nothing like a newsroom. We meet in a library, so it’s quiet. I think meeting in a disruptive environment wouldn’t work.

      And we actually used to meet in a cafe, but some people complained of the distraction of noise, which is why we moved to the library. I’ve never been bothered by chatter, though. I tend to tune out when I write. That said, I can’t write with music playing, because my brain can’t tune it out.

      1. Yeah, I’ve worked in a newsroom as well, but now prefer the quiet even though when one is in the newsroom they get used to it and tune out the ringing phones, chatter, etc. A library is great. Plus, if you need to look something up, there are all those books sitting there Google fails you. 🙂

        I can write with music, but vocals. Then I can’t tune it out.


  3. Problem with me is that I speak aloud while writing. Makes me look like a crazy woman at my favourite picnic table in the local park. About to attend a writing and yoga retreat at Huzur Vadisi so hopefully not too many eye rolls from other participants – and no more bombs, had enough grief here in Turkey.

    1. Well, yes, speaking aloud would be problematic. I think the other writers would be distracted.

      But, again, a write-in isn’t for everyone. It’s just an option for people to consider.

  4. Definitely not. I’m too much of an introvert. If you’re engaged in collaborative writing, where you and one more other individuals are working on the same project, it makes sense. Two friends, one here in Dallas and the other in Los Angeles, tried working on screenplays together, since they both studied filmmaking at New York University. My L.A. friend was more driven and intent on getting projects done. They would communicate via telephone, when the L.A. guy still lived in New York. Once he moved out West, the writing relationship ended. They’re still fiends, but they don’t work on projects together. But that’s a different situation.

    Currently, my father and I are working on history of our family. It’s more of a labor of love than anything. My father is heavily in genealogical research and has acquired reams of data on both sides of his family; tracing them each to medieval Spain. Again, that’s different. Everything else I’ve done has been a solo venture. I can work and play well with others most of the time, but creative writing is just too personal for me.

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