I’ve joined a writers’ group. And we write. We talk about writing and we write.
We meet once a week on Fridays in a nice cafe in my local town, and we shut the fuck up and write. It’s also running on my happiness streak of productivity, the 25 minute sprint. I use it at home too, a mini version of the Pomedoro technique minus the charts, and it’s a fantastic way to work.
But the weekly meet up to write is the real motivator.
We don’t share what we write, nor do we ask for feedback on it. We talk about other writing stuff instead. And eat cake, drink coffee or tea, or have an omelette for breakfast.
And three times in the allotted two and a half hours, we set the clock for 25 minutes, and we shut the fuck up and write. It’s not actually called that, but useful and appropriate swearing is a skill and a joy to use. The official title is Shut Up and Write.
I don’t really know my fellow participants. One is someone from a past which feels like a life time ago. Another still is one of my lecturers from uni. Two are strange and inapproachable. There are others I’ve yet to meet, who come when they can. But that’s ok. I’m not after writer friends. Generally speaking, writers shouldn’t be friends with other writers, unless it’s a rare chemistry that works. We’re too socially retarded to relate to one another in any human sense. I have other friends who are lovely and grounded and make honey or work in hospitals or measure things under microscopes or bang sculptures into shape, and all the parts of me that disappear when I write wrap themselves around the simple humanity of their company and inspire my practical self (which ultimately feeds my writing).
But the companionship of a writer when you are writing is truly priceless. It motivates like no other thing. I don’t know why it works or why it should, but meeting with other people who spend their life putting words down on a page for the sheer joy or terror of it, because they must, or should, or shouldn’t, or simply want to – who think that words are the best thing since…. well, anything – and doing that together, well, it makes that grand wide empty procrastinating space of non-writing much more approachable, and it makes me get shit done.
Which is what every writer needs, really. Something that actually makes you write.