For the past three years, I’ve been searching for a new writing crew. For a variety of reasons, my local circle has, for lack of a better word, dissolved. These days most of my writing friends live in other parts of the country. We text and video chat as often as possible, but let’s face it, there’s nothing like a having a local crew.
Needless to say, I’ve been lonely. I miss coffee dates where we swap industry gossip and brainstorm ideas. In my quest for a new gang, I attended a whole bunch of writer meetings, some online, some offline, and while I met some very nice people, something always felt off. There was no sharing or connecting between meetings. No comradery. These were groups of individual writers who, once the meeting was over, went their separate ways. I wanted something more. Something deeper.
Two other things I learned in my search? 1. A lot of these authors already had squads and 2. It is nearly impossible to join an existing squad – especially if you are looking for teammates who are at or above your level. As groovy as it would be to email say, Heather Webb or Beatriz Williams asking if I can join their crew, it simply doesn’t work that way.
I complained about this to my friend, Penny Watson over tea last week. She too had been bemoaning the loss of a small writing squad. Rather than look for a team to join, however, she decided to curate her own crew. This crew wasn’t anything formal. Rather, it was a group of writers with whom she’d make a point of having regular coffee dates. Meeting as a group wasn’t nearly as important as regularly connecting of creative people who could push and inspire her.
Listening to her, I realized I’d been going about this whole squad idea the wrong way. All this time I was looking for a team, when what I really wanted was a connection. Like Penny, I longed for conversations where we left mutually inspired and fulfilled. I wanted to spend time with experienced, published authors who would push me, brainstorm with me, and maybe even advise me because they knew more. Those kinds of connections aren’t found in a group. They are found by talking one-on-one.
Making one-on-one connections is a scary idea. In many way, it’s a lot like going on dates, because you’re putting yourself out there and risking rejection. On the other hand, I’d rather risk rejection than sit around waiting for conversation to find me. And so, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. Although…. if Heather or Beatriz do feel like hanging, I’m down for a cup of coffee.