You betcha! At least for me it does.
But—I don’t mean just mean the characters who exist inside my head and pop into my thoughts telling me their names and deepest secrets.
I don’t mean only mean my thoughtful beta readers who read a finished manuscript and ask questions and offer the constructive criticism I have asked for.
I don’t mean simply mean my insightful agent or smart editor who seem to know just the right buttons to push to help me arrive at decisions about a story on my own, or nudge my skill to the next level (and yes, that’s their job, but still… ).
I do mean the village of writers that I intentionally and, even sometimes accidentally, reside within. Or, as my Southern writer pals would say, y’all.
While none of you are bringing me coffee so I don’t have to get up and can keep on writing (but, come to think of it, if anyone wants to…) the emotional construct of writing for me, relies upon knowing that when I step outside my writing cave, that you will be there. That makes the solitude I require for typing words onto a screen, quite manageable. I’m a leave-me-alone-shut-off-the-music-shut-up-don’t-talk-to-me kind of writer. I’m not in a coffee shop or a library. I don’t listen to music. I’m alone in a room, on the chaise, gifted to me by my agent. This is where I write.
Nowhere was the effect of a village made more evident to me than Saturday at the Writing Workshop of Chicago 2016 (#WWOC16), where I met dozens of aspiring authors. (These workshops are held all over the country, so check a city near you!) I conducted sixteen in-person, ten-page manuscript critiques, as well as two one-hour workshops. I spent the day talking about—and listening to others talk about—writing and being a writer. When I walked out of the hotel and headed to the train, nearing the end of my twelve-hour day, my most prevalent thought, aside from IT IS WAY TOO COLD IN CHICAGO TODAY was, that all day long I was right were I was supposed to be doing what I was supposed to be doing with the people who I was supposed to be with.
I spent the day in my real-life village.
What a gift.
And that, made me want to come home and write a book.