I'm not a joiner. At least it's not what I usually do. But about 3 or 4 years ago, I turned up at a writers group meeting. Since then, it's been quite a ride. The group members have changed, we've gotten more organized, and we seem to have done something which got a lot of us moving.
What we writers often need is a kick-start. Or maybe just a kick, to get started.
Formed "way back" in 1992 or so, the Writers Club of Crossroads in Fontainebleau, the local Anglophone organization, attracted a small group of writers. (I only know that because one of the members is still an active participant.) For years, a changing membership met to do group exercises and discuss each other's stories. Publication was an elusive goal for most. Many of the group even questioned its value.
Last year that changed with the publication of the anthology, Blue Fountain. It's been an interesting ride since then. Suddenly, even those who questioned the value of publishing were adamant - we have to do another anthology, they announced. New writers joined - and they, too, caught the bug. Now there's a second anthology in the offing, and three members are publishing their works independently, with a fourth in the queue - everybody wants to play.
Is the second anthology going to be great art? probably not. Neither was the first. But the stories are pretty good and some of them are better than good. The effort itself brought the group together in a new way. The weeks and months ahead are going to be difficult and tiring, but also liberating and exhilirating.
One of our sister groups got inspired, too..they're publishing in June. We'll publish either then or a little bit earlier. Crossing my fingers for everyone's success and hoping that all the good writers out there will take a deep breath and plunge in.
I'm still not a joiner. But now I've seen - and experienced - the value of being part of a community of writers. For that, I'm grateful.