A Cloud of Witnesses....

It's fantastic to have a circle of fellow "writing-fiends" gathered around you. The companionship is amazing because a cluster of Writers is not like an affinity group of "piano tuners", "gym-goers" or "arborists" (or at least I imagine not, despite having never been any of these): being a writer seems to me more like being a man, a woman, or an African-American. It's an identity that goes beyond a hobby and into the way our brains work and the strange things we do to our lives. Being a Writer is more than a pastime, it's a lifestyle.

I love sitting around with my Writer pals and having heated discussions over characters, plot-twists, favorite authors, and the frustrations and joys that come with opening your vein and putting it all on paper. I could jabber on for hours about my ideas and brainstorms, and it's fabulous to have someone who knows that feeling to bounce it all off of. It's the lovely presence of audience, interest, and appreciation--not to mention the "lightbulb moments" that sometimes get kickstarted in that kind of atmosphere. 

That's why I would highly recommend any Writer to join a club or support network of some kind--on the internet or in the real world--where you can be criticized, awed, and inspired. There's really nothing like it. 

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Constructive criticism is welcome! Please remember, though, that nearly every excerpt posted here is my first rough draft.