I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, March 7, 2011

No Writer is an Island

Photo credit: redfloor
At the recent My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers retreat, we watched the movie, About a Boy. We dissected the movie to find the necessary elements for a solid story spine. In the movie, Hugh Grant's character narrates the beginning and says, "Every man is an island." The character worked hard at maintaining his island status until a young boy horned his way into the man's life. By the end of the movie, the man realized how much he wasn't an island at all, and liked it that way.

While at Deep Thinkers, I reunited with old friends and met new ones. Sitting in that gorgeous Cedar House, I listened to the brainstorming, laughing, and prayers mingling in the room. We came together through My Book Therapy, created by Susan May Warren to give writers a Voice and a sense of community.

Writers are not islands. Writing can be a solitary occupation, but it’s only as solitary as you choose to make it.

Even if you live in an area where writers are as few as three-dollar bills, the Internet allows us to stay connected to one another. The Ponderers are spread out from east to west coast, yet when something exciting happens, or I need prayer, they’re one of the first I go to.

Whether you’re new to writing or a veteran, get involved. Join writing organizations like ACFW or My Book Therapy. Participate with other writers in group blogs like ours. If your budget allows, attend a retreat or conference. I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away with a new friend or two.

English poet John Donne wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”

Writing takes an investment in time and money to be successful, but you also need to invest in relationships, if for no other reason than to let you know you’re not an island, but a continent connected to other writers who understand the sting of rejection, the excitement of muse, and the thrill of the first sale. Together, we can encourage and lift up one another as we forge ahead on the paths laid before us. 

Your turn: How do you keep writing from being so solitary? How have your writing friends changed the way you approach your dreams?

Lisa Jordan


  1. Finding friends along this journey has changed it big time for me. I'm prodded to keep on keepin' on when I hit low points or feel like throwing in the towel. I'm edified and uplifted. I'm so grateful God has put people in my path like this. I only hope I'm encouraging them in equal ways.
    ~ Wendy

  2. Wendy, as a newer visitor to your site and from your comments on my blog, I can tell you first hand--you are an encourager! :-)

  3. My writing buddies keep me from heading for the exit door when I want to abandon this whole writing dream and, I dunno, become a plumber or something.
    My writing buddies give me feedback that keeps me on my toes--like telling me I'd just written a cliche!
    My writing buddies understand my life and how I can't not write. And they understand when I talk about WIPs and POVs and inciting incidents. No translation needed.
    Thanks for being one of those friends, LJ.

  4. Bethy, I'm so thankful for the day you made the choice to come to the dark side...and not just for the cookies. :-)

    I'm thankful for Roxanne inviting you to the pizza party at ACFW.

    I'm thankful you're the soul of the Ponderers. We are so blessed to know you and call you friend!

  5. I don't know how other writers make it without writing buds. It is so comforting to be in a group where we encourage and pray and brainstorm and keep each other on our toes. Great post, Lisa. Every word true.

  6. I am enjoying meeting new writing friends as I embark on this writing adventure. They have encouraged me and spoken truth to me when one of my "lies" threatens to prompt me to quit. They point me to the One who gave me the story in the first place, and that helps me to keep pursuing the dream of completing this story (and hopefully others!). :)

    I sure enjoyed meeting you at Deep Thinkers, Lisa! Thanks for encouraging words and quiet wisdom!

  7. I can't say enough about how much my writing friends mean to me. I've done all the things you've suggested, joined ACFW and attended conferences and MBT retreats. I've joined online critique groups and a group blog (this one!). I also meet with local writers--even when my personal life has been a disaster and I wasn't writing. In every situation, I've made treasured friends who share my passion. I encourage other writers to follow Lisa's great advice.

    BTW, I really liked the movie About A Boy.

  8. My writing buddies rock my socks off! They remind me that I'm not crazy...I'm not the only one who makes up people and places and plots. They affirm and encourage me...and I LOVE what Jeanne said, that writing friends point me to the One who gave me the story in the first place!!

  9. How would we survive without our writing buds?! Thanks Lisa for reminding us how important it is to stay connected.

  10. I don't know that I can say anything that hasn't already been said! (But I will try!! =D ) I would be lost without my writing sisters! Not only have they encouraged and loved me, they have blessed me. And not just in writing related ways. God has used them to build my faith as I see His mighty hand at work in their lives. We have prayed together (for BIG things!!) and He has answered us (in BIG ways!!) and I come away knowing Him better, loving Him more for His provision, and simply amazed by His power.

    What an amazing gift, my writing friends. I am thankful every day!

  11. Until several years ago, I found writing a solitary and generally isolating experience, though still wonderful through the creativity that happens in the writing world. However, through connecting with MBT, several years ago, becoming part of the Ponderers, attending seminars, ACFW, other writing groups, etc., I am thrilled to find my writing and personal life enhanced by interaction with other inspiring and nurturing writers. God is doing so much. Not only does He care about what He wants written, but He also cares about us and we grow and are changed in the process.

  12. I attended a writers' conference this past weekend, and a critique group meeting last night. Both activities reminded me how much I'm blessed by relationships with fellow writers. The laughter, encouragement and accountability all impact my writing...and me, personally!
    The result is writing and relationships that glorify God - at least that's my prayer!