While I was waiting in line for fast food, a boy of about 4 years old was pirouetting nearby until he crashed into me. His mother was horrified and struggled to apologize.
“That’s okay,” I told her. “I’m a daddy.”
That was all it took to explain to her that it really was okay. With that, she almost started crying.
“Oh,” she said. “You understand!”
When people make a connection, when they realize they share something that not everyone has, there is a spark of light. Imagine being lost in a city and suddenly getting your bearings and knowing where you are. You’re reminded that you’re not alone in the dark and there are others who have experienced the same struggles as you.
Are you a writer? So am I. That may not be enough to make you feel unlost. What if I told you that I sit in my favorite coffee shop and wrap away at the keys, wishing someone would glance my way and think now there’s a serious writer and I will not check my Facebook if anyone can see me. I always try to keep my document open, or at least Twitter, right?
Anyone do that? Maybe a few of you.
Do you walk into a room and look for the nearest emergency exit, or do you compose a description in your mind? Perhaps you look at the people and imagine what they’re anxious about, or even what kind of things they like to read and if they were to read your writing, if they would be inspired.
I like to think that writing is a solitary thing. And in the way that it’s personal communication, it is something that should be done only with one’s own thoughts and beliefs. But writers don’t have to be alone. As much as I relish the idea of sitting in a shack in the middle of the desert to write, I have to admit something true, we need to connect.
Do you write? Do you feel lost and alone sometimes, and not in a good way where the aloneness is invigorating? Do you just need a reminder that there are others out there on the same journey as you? There are others on their own paths, but striving toward a similar goal and experiencing the same joys and concerns.
You don’t have to get all social or join a writer’s group, but imagine being out in the nighttime sea and seeing a guiding beacon. I want to tell you where to look.
Writing podcasts can be as simple as a guiding star, and as vital as a lifesaving line thrown to you from a kindred spirit. There are too many to mention here but I want to mention my favorite three for you.
- The Journeyman Writer is hearty snippets of valuable writing advice and just one of the podcasts put out by a talented duo. I feel included in their circle of friends as I listen.
- Helping Writers Become Authors is more than a podcast rich in writing instruction. There is also a blog and if you follow on Twitter or FB you get Writing Questions of the Day that makes you think hard about what you’re doing.
- Sarah’s Write Now Podcast may be my favorite, not just because I got to be her guest for an episode. I think her podcast stands out because it is unique in how she speaks to the soul of the writer. While there are good podcasts that focus on the mechanics or business of writing, The Write Now Podcast encourages someone with a gentle spirit of love and truth. There’s no better way to feel like a writer.
There are plenty more good podcasts. Get out and find some. Your homework, however, is not to link them in the comments. I’m weary of deleting spam there. Instead, tell us about a writing quirk of yours. What funny habits or rituals do you have that perhaps others might share? Let’s draw a little closer on our Road Walking this week.