As I write this, I’m preparing to head off to a writer’s conference/retreat. As it is posted, I’ll be nearing the end of said conference. Six days of community with college-aged writers. A chance to be with friends old and new, to exchange ideas and critiques and passions.
I can’t wait.
All of us need that sort of thing: a group who understands us, who knows who we are and what we love and loves it with us.
Among those people will be a few of my beta readers for Agram Awakens, including the only person who’s ever gotten to read the whole thing. These are the people who understand my love for writing and they are passionate with me.
This sort of community is so vital and wonderful that I thought I’d take this time – my first post of the new year – to explore the ins and outs of finding and communing with one’s own people.
It is possible to be a writer alone. It’s possible to be many things alone: perhaps it’s even possible to be everything alone.
In fact, we rarely start out with a huge group of people just like us, if we start with a group at all. Instead, we’re alone. I started my writing venture alone: scribbling stories into notebooks at the desk in my room. I started my engineering venture with only one or two mentors in my life who knew a thing about it.
When we find our passions, we’re exploring them alone. Discovery of individual passions is rarely a group project. Instead, we find them on our own, and then slowly reach out to others with the same passion.
We start our search alone, but we shouldn’t continue that way. Humans have a communal nature. People like other people. More specifically, we like people who are like us. This is a thing that can create rifts and divides, but also strong fellowship and friendship. When you find your passion, you should also find people who share that passion. Being alone is no fun, when it comes to passions. Sure, being alone can be quite handy and peaceful (trust me, I know… I’m currently alone in my room writing a blog post… and it’s great), but it can also get… well… lonely.
Finding Your People
Sure, maybe it’s a good thing to have people who share your passion. But how the heck do you find them? It’s hard to find other people. It requires hard work, interaction, and persistence.
For me, my writing people were found first through online forums and then through writer’s groups and workshops and conferences and even through college. I’ve found highschoolers and college students and adults with passions for creative writing who are invested in my work and in whose work I can invest in myself.
For my engineering, it was simply choosing to pursue it as a degree. I was able to meet dozens of peers and many professors who cared that I was there and shared similar passions and dreams.
What about you? Finding your people may involve more work, or less. Perhaps you’ve already got your people. If so, invest in them. Your people are only your people if you embrace them as your own. They’ll invest in you at the rate you invest in them.
Community is important. People to lean on are important. Investing in your passions and in the passions of others is important. It allows you to be creative and to create art in your own life and in the lives of others.