My theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge is Creativity. Today’s post is V for Village, as in “It takes a…”
Throughout this challenge, I’ve written about the importance of being true to yourself and your creativity. About creating something that comes from your own intellect, heart, and soul.
But, you can’t go it alone. You need the advice, feedback, and support of a community, whether it’s family, friends, or peers.
When I started getting serious about pursuing publication with my children’s writing, I took some online writing classes. Previously, I wrote, isolated but safe, in my little office. The only feedback on my writing came from an occasional personal rejection from an agent or editor. The form rejections spoke for themselves.
In the classes, it was difficult for me to put myself out there, to have the teacher and students read and critique my work. Still, I knew when the class ended, I could go back to my hiding place in my office. But I did get a taste of the benefits of having fellow writers provide helpful criticism.
One of the students and I hit it off. I liked her writing and her sense of humor. She wanted to form a critique group, but I just wasn’t ready. Actually, I was still afraid, possibly shy as well, to have people read my work on a regular basis. We kept in touch, and she’d occasionally nudge me about the group. I kept putting her off. I think a year or more went by before I finally agreed.
It was one of the best things for my writing I’ve ever done. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today, my stories wouldn’t be what they are, if not for those five writers. We were all “newbies” when we started (about 10 years ago now!), and together we learned the ropes of writing and the publishing world.
So, what I’m saying in this post is, be fearless in your creativity, listen to your instincts, follow your style. But get support from your village, and give support, too. Join a critique group, take classes, visit museums, go to your peers’ events—their art showings, their book signings.
And listen to what they say about your work. Take it to heart, and then follow the path your heart tells you to take.
Your village will be there to support your decision.