The Importance of a Writing Community

I participated in the most amazing session of Dungeons and Dragons this past weekend.  The DM put so much work into the mission, it has been a blast to play.  He has developed personalized nemesis for each of the players and tied into their backstories.  It just so happens that everyone playing in this session is big on backstory, so he asked for and read all of them– pages and pages worth– and then developed the mission based on those and a previous mission played.  Needless to say, it has been so, so fun to participate in.  On Sunday my character met his nemesis, and found out some things about his lineage and his parents that he had never known before.  Super interesting.

Anyhow.  I have been asked to write and DM (if any of you are wondering what this is, I would love to explain and talk to you about it… and no, it technically isn’t correct to use DM as a verb, but we do it anyway) a mission after this one finishes up, but I frankly told my friend on Sunday that I am now thoroughly intimidated, and I didn’t think I could come up with anything nearly as good as his.  His response was, “Oh, I don’t believe that for a minute!”  It was incredibly encouraging to me, as well as challenging.  I feel like he has raised the creative bar as far as Dungeons and Dragons goes, and I am eager to work on my mission.

This is reason number [insert really high number] why I love Dungeons and Dragons– it does not allow me to settle, but challenges me to higher and higher levels of creativity.  And I realized, this is true in writing, as well, and shows why it is so important to have a community of fellow writers.  It took me a long time to realize this and actively seek one out.  In college, it was easy to find people to peer review my writing, and I was surrounded by other creative minds to help and challenge me.  But after college it was harder to keep that going, when it really fell upon me to be self-motivated, and I let it fall by the wayside far too long.

However, recently a number of the writers that have been coming to Dungeons and Dragons formed a writer’s group, and I had the opportunity to join.  I had forgotten how good it is to discuss writing with other writers.  Not only is it good for me on a practical level, it is inspiring my own creativity just being able to talk about my ideas with others and hearing about theirs.  One of the guys in the group, Stephen McCranie, is a professional cartoonist who is currently working on a serialized work called Space Boy.  (It is amazing, you should all check it out!)  I have never been very much into cartoons or graphic novels, though I had some exposure to them in college.  It has been so interesting and cool to talk to him and find out about his creative process and to think about the differences between how he draws out stories and how I write them.  How a lot of what I picture through description he draws out and shows without words– which, of course, brings me back to the importance of showing, not telling.

Do you have a writing community which has helped you on your creative path?


About Laura Holland

A Jesus-follower, wife, mother and writer living in Albuquerque, NM.
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