Writing Together/Writing Alone

Last weekend I went to a poetry retreat in Haileybury and as I told one of my friends the other day – I had a breakthrough. I don't know what I broke through – or what broke. (As my friend said – the important thing is something broke.)

Back home, I'm still riding the Haileybury high. Writing together is such a rich experience. But what about writing when it's just me? No writing friends to inspire you. No mentor to lean on. The words just don't seem to come as easily. But then it hit me. It's usually near the end of a workshop, when I'm "warmed up," that something more "real" and "fresh" can emerge. I just never noticed this trend before. When writing alone, I need to push past the initial "cold" writing.

Writers are, after all, like musicians – we have to warm up our instrument – tune it and be ready to hear some flat notes and squeaks in the process. I've heard this idea before – but you know – it's starting to really feel true.

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