Communities of writers are wonderful and necessary. They nurture and provoke, engage and challenge. They can take many forms: writers’ groups, workshops, reading series, salons, open mikes (“mic” looks to me like it’s pronounced “mihk” and only came into use when “mic” was engraved on recording equipment in the 1980s; “mike” was the word before then). I am in several: a writers’ group I’ve been in for more than 20 years (and it’s been in existence for more than 30 years); a continuing workshop with an old friend focusing on short fiction, as well as the Blueprint Your Book workshop with Minal Hajratwala; the Big Words reading series; and the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon and Open Expressions Harlem.
Today the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon met at the Brooklyn Workshop Gallery for an afternoon with featured poet Cynthia Manick. Cynthia led a workshop on character poems, with examples by Patricia Smith (“Medusa” was really powerful), Lucille Clifton, Carol Ann Duffy, and Cornelius Eady, and direct address poems, with examples Chris Abani. We then had the opportunity to write our own examples, with many amazing poems written in just 10 minutes. Cynthia read some of her own work. And then the open mike, with, again, many beautiful pieces of writing. And of course, the Two Writing Teachers, with their Slice of Life Story Challenge in March, and National Novel Writing Month, in November, which pushed me to finish the first draft of a novel some years ago (it still sits, with half a dozen attempts at a second draft, in a drawer).
There are more out there. In April, National Poetry Month, there are at least a couple of 30 Poems in 30 Days challenges. I hope you are in more than one writing community; maybe you can join one in April.