“If winter comes can spring be far behind?” Shelley’s famed optimistic question. These days the answer is far less predictable. After all, Shelley didn’t have to cope with global warming. Nor did winters keep him from writing or sharing his latest poems with his impressive peers.
I live in New York City, which has been battered by sub-freezing temperatures and unremitting snow and ice, making it difficult and dangerous to keep up any routine that involves venturing outdoors. My weekly writers’ workshop is one of the casualties, for we’ve had to postpone too many meetings.
What the workshop gives us, and what we were threatened to be deprived of, is something invaluable known as Feedback. We customarily read pages to each other that we wrote during the week and receive insightful critiques. This weekly prodding keeps us going with whatever project we’re working on.
I’ve discovered through the years that being a member of a writers’ group also provides motivation. During the week I sometimes complain that I’m not inspired to write anything new, only to discover I can be inspired when Wednesday night – our meeting time – looms ahead of me. It’s a self-created deadline. Amazing what you can do when that’s staring at you. Perhaps necessity is the mother of inspiration, too.
Since every member of my group feels the same way, we came up with a winter solution. Though the frigid weather keeps us apart, it doesn’t have to prevent us from sharing. So we have been sending our latest pages to one another via E-mails. Knowing I don’t have to wait endlessly for feedback encouraged me to begin a new story, and enabled a member who is working on a novel to maintain the momentum she needs.
Without this sharing we writers work in an echoless void. Much as we can give comments to ourselves or pull them from any hapless family member or friend who’s housebound with us, there is nothing to compare to critiques from fellow/sister writers – in any season!