Yesterday I posted about having a virtual writing date Thursday night, and Ashley asked for more info about writing dates, so …
I suppose a writing date can be whatever you’d like it to be, whatever is going to work best to get you writing. Mine tend to have similar formats:
- Get together and hang out for a little while checking in and hearing what’s up with each other.
- Talk about what’s going on with our writing — what are we working on, what do we hope to get into that day, are we applying for anything, have we sent any pieces out, do we have any deadlines looming?
Variations on this format can include doing some writing prompts together, getting something to eat during the check-in or while we’re writing, moving from coffee shop to bar as the day wears on, finishing for the day and going out to dinner, whatever.
On Thursday, the check in and writing talk time was super short, and we got down to work. My groceries were delivered mid-session, but other than that, there were no interruptions. We had a few minutes of chat mixed in with the writing, but mostly what we did was write.
What I love about these dates is the creative company. Being able to look up and see a writer hard at work keeps me working. It’s as if writing with others changes the air quality, so I’m breathing in creativity and productivity. It inspires me to push myself for another line, another paragraph, another page.
(And there are extended versions of this date business. In January, two friends and I took off for a beautiful house upstate to spend a long weekend writing. We stocked the kitchen, hung out on arrival night, and then we got to work. We each had our own room and writing space. We saw each other when we happened to be in the kitchen or living room at the same time. We shared a few meals. Otherwise, we were writing on our own … but together. I couldn’t look up and see either friend working, but knowing they were each plugging away in their studios kept me plugging away in mine. The whole house felt as if it was humming with writing energy, and it was intoxicating. I wrote two essays that weekend and began work on a third.)
There is a strong, popular stereotype of being A WRITER, which involves working alone, usually while starving to death in a drafty garret somewhere. I’ve never lived in a drafty garret but it’s absolutely true that most of my writing is done when I’m alone. I could never make enough dates for all the time I spend writing. But the dates are necessary. I am half hermit, half social butterfly, and I need to honor both sides of myself.
I’m curious to know what other people’s writing dates look like. I’d love it if you’d share in the comments!
It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! With hundreds of folks participating, there’s more than a little something for everyone … and plenty of room for you to join in!