Part of what I love about writing is how isolated it can be. I am, in a lot of ways, an introvert and a homebody. I like being in my own place, both mentally and physically. But that isn’t the whole story.
Without the balance of the community aspect of writing—whether it’s reading someone else’s work, having someone read my work, discussing published books with friends, working through critiques with my writing group—the endeavor isn’t meaningful; it doesn’t have purpose, to me.
Living in or near a major city—New York, in my case—means there are almost constant opportunities to get out and engage in the writing community at large. This weekend, I attended a launch party for Amanda Maciel’s debut novel, Tease, which has been mentioned on this blog before.
It was great to see in person the members of my writing group I’ve only seen virtually since my family’s out-of-state move last year. I also had the opportunity to meet another writer—a freelancer who works from home and writes in the time she can manage, just like I do. Though I know Amanda personally, it was wonderful to hear her answer questions on how she came to write this book, her process, and reactions the book has received thus far.
Attending a signing means supporting the author, the bookstore, and the writing community in general. Showing up means showing that books have a place of value in the world. (Buying the book is important, too!) It means encouraging each other and finding inspiration when I’m stuck.
Public readings are an easy form of what I like to think of as writerly cross-training. What better way to celebrate books? To celebrate our fellow authors?