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While I was growing up and imagining my future life as a writer, I had the image, like many people, of the lone writer in her garret. I imagined myself up in a large room at the top of a house, papers everywhere. The room would be cold, so I would have to wrap myself up in a blanket, and there would probably be dried-out cups of tea and coffee all around — the warm fuel both for my body and my writing. No doubt this imagined writer’s garret came to me from movies and stories I’d read about famous people like Marie Curie and Beethoven, studying and working alone in their rooms, producing works of sheer genius.

Yet in the midst of all my imagined hardship as a future writer, I saw myself as happy in that space. I would be happy because I was alone, doing what I loved to do best: write.

Now that I’m carving a landscape out for myself as a poet and a writer, I realize how adorably romantic, naïve, and laughable my younger self’s image of the writing life actually was. Writing is obviously a solitary act, but one of the most wonderful things about being a writer is finding a community of like-minded people.

Being part of a writing community — whether in a casual setting in someone’s home, or as part of a more organized group that meets monthly — is a writer’s lifeline. Sharing work with other writers, hearing different perspectives, or discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a given writing practice all work to inspire, support, encourage, and better our abilities and lives as writers.

I’m fortunate that I have a number of writers in my life with whom I can share my work, writing issues, and the like. Being part of several writing communities has inspired me to write in new ways, and to take risks I might not otherwise have. And I love that I can discuss my writing process with others who share in the writing life. What a far cry from the image of a writer I had developed for myself as a youth!

So, as we continue to move through the holiday season, I’m thinking about community, and what a gift it is to be part of one. If you haven’t already become part of a writing community, there are several out there (see list at the end of this post. Several of these sites have lists of their own). And to my fellow writers and poets within the communities I’m a part of, many thanks for another great year, and best wishes for a fabulous and productive 2019!

Writing communities:

The Ontario Poetry Society

Writers’ Community of York Region

Writers’ Community of Durham

Writers’ Community of Simcoe

Brooklin Poetry Society