Everyone knows that writing is a solitary profession. Sometimes too solitary. We sit at our desks and write. We talk to the computer. We talk to the dog. I don’t know about you, but there are days that go by that I don’t speak to another human being on the telephone.
I like it that way. I am connected–a little too connected–via internet, on Facebook and Twitter (follow me, by the way, at @cliffgarstang), and I stay in touch with a lot of people via email. But I sometimes crave the company of writers.
That’s one reason why I started a local writing community. We get together in a café once a month and talk about the business, and we have an open mic. We also host occasional readings where visitors share their work with us. It’s fun, and it’s just nice to get out from time to time and mingle with other writers.
Which, if I’ve scheduled this post correctly, is what I’m doing at the instant these words appear online. I am at AWP, the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, this year held in Chicago. AWP is a wild three days of panels, readings, parties, and a huge bookfairs celebrating small presses and magazines. And, this year, 10,000 writers. I don’t know if attending AWP is good for my career. I suspect it’s not, although the publisher of my first book and my forthcoming book will have a table at the bookfair, and I’ll also be promoting our magazine. It could be that our time would be better spent in some other way.
Whatever. It’s fun. And it’s nice to get together with other writers. I recommend it.