On writing groups: Where inspiration hides when it’s lost

We invited Lisa Goll, founder of the London Writer’s Cafe, to share her insights on the isolation of writing and the benefits of connecting with other writers via writing groups.

It’s a crushing fact that to develop a piece of work that will resonate, most creatives require plenty of solitude. This surrender of social interaction works for a time – particularly when the ideas are gushing for the page; but soon enough the screen goes blank or a concept loses its legs and you find yourself searching for an alternative system.

The creative brain needs stimulus like a base-jumper needs a cliff; to remain active and to invent anything new, it must jump into the unknown.  As a result, many creatives become sharks for their art – unstoppable, tireless, in their search for the next good idea – but many waste energy circling the same hunting grounds for years, long after all the fish are gone.

Avoid that. Find others. Connect. Share your ideas and listen to theirs. Share your concerns, talk about everything else you’re doing, exchange war stories of the battles you’ve won and lost. Nothing pushes creativity out of the blocks faster than hearing another’s process: where they work, how they formulate new ideas, who they turn to when stuck – it all equals a great deal when you’re floundering.

Friends and family may be a powerful source of unrelenting support but meeting up with a group of like-minded souls is better, because communities make the best hunting ground for inspiration, feedback and motivation. 

For some, the advice found may be slight (or seismic) but every heartbeat spent amongst like-minded brains is liquid poured straight into the creative well. Don’t be shy about dropping by when you need it. They get it. No matter which creative form gets your motor running, there’s a community for it. Online or off, if you’re into it, chances are that others are already gathered around it, but if you can’t find one, build it, and they’ll find you. Some members may be more experienced than you, some less, but all are pooling time and energy into their craft. No creative can afford to turn that away, lest they face more time with only the tumbleweeds inside their heads. 

Don’t wait, start now: search via social media, app store, event websites (Eventbrite, Meetup), your local library, community centre for fastest results. Best yet, should you choose to seek out your tribe and rub shoulders with them on the regular, those lazy folks in your creative basement will pick up their tools and get back to work.

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