Bruschetta for writers

Homemade Bruschetta and string cheese

Homemade Bruschetta and string cheese

I have wonderful memories of cold winter days made warm by the company of good friends.

Once a week, we met together to talk, work on projects, watch chick flics and allow our young children to run around in the immense back yard of one particularly wonderful lady.  While they wore themselves out in the snow, we rejuvenated our minds and hearts.

Here I found willing readers for my first attempts at fiction, encouragement when I accepted challenging nonfiction assignments and dedicated discussions about books. We talked about books we were reading, books we loved, books we hated, plot lines and characters and what made certain books original. I found several new favorite authors this way.

A larger group of us met once a month for lunch. In the summer, we often picnicked at parks in and around the Bismarck area. During cold weather, we met at restaurants.

One February day, we met at Olive Garden, where one of my dearest friends introduced me to Bruschetta.

I’m busy chopping fresh garden tomatoes today, content with the idea of Bruschetta for dinner.  It’s like dining with a friend.

I’m inclined to believe that all writers need friends.

Author Janet Sketchley recently put it this way:

We may do the actual writing alone, even if we do it best amid the background chatter of the local coffee hangout, but it’s the writing community that lets us thrive.

I’m nodding my head here. Writers need a strong network, for emotional health if for nothing else.

I haven’t been able to attend a slightly geographically-distant critique group for months now, but the few times I was able to attend saved my sanity during some rough times.  I’m hoping to get back to it this fall. I loved it.

Likewise, I love the local writing group that I attend more regularly. I love chatting with my daughters about their own works-in-progress, and I love that some of my writing friends I’ve left behind will call me two or three times a week just to talk writing with me.

I do, however, think that writer’s friends can—and should—extend beyond other writers.

Like my Bruschetta friend from North Dakota, and my daycare-crib-keeper friend, my German party friends, my do-it-yourself home decorator friend, my librarian friend, my running friends.

Those friends are now joined by my dessert club friends near my non-North Dakota home—the one who takes in pets for the animal shelter, the one who creates beautiful beaded hair  clips, the one who knows how to make gum paste flowers for wedding cakes and the one who enjoys Dr. Who and Monarch of the Glen.

Every person is amazingly unique, and yet it seems like any time I get together with friends, we talk about stories of some kind. I learn something from each interaction with them. Usually, I learn something about myself.

I believe that transfers directly to my writing. It makes me both a better person and a better writer.

These moments with friends are like the basil in my Bruschetta—they make something ordinary like garden tomatoes into something completely wonderful, something worth savoring and worth sharing.

6 Comments to “Bruschetta for writers”

  1. Well said, Gwen, and now I’m wishing for some Bruschetta! Yes, our writing friends can help save our sanity, and all our friends add the flavour to who we are and what we write. I’m very thankful for that. Thanks for linking to my blog — it let me find you.

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    • I really loved your post on writing friends. 🙂 What suggestions do you have for writers who try to balance real life (like time with family and friends) with writing time?

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      • Balancing responsibilities, relationships and writing is an ongoing struggle for me, so I’m open to suggestions!

        I don’t switch tasks easily, so whatever I’m doing could take over. Days where I pray for wisdom in using my time are the ones that go best. It’s so hard to discern between interruptions/distractions and opportunities.

        Being more intentional in time use helps me, and keeping an eye on my calendar to be sure I’m not focusing too much on any one area.

        Specific tip: I use a timer to track my writing and networking time. I waste less time if it’s being measured. And I’m working at being more discerning of what I’m doing online. It’s really easy to slip from networking and relationships into wasting time 🙂

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      • I use a timer quite a bit, too, although I don’t track my writing like I should. I’ve never come up with any system that really feels right for that yet…although perhaps my journaling-rather-than-deadlining thing might help. 🙂

        (I pray over how to spend my time, too. It’s amazing how well that one little action can impact an entire day.)

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  2. Gwen, Loved this post. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to give up writing and then I go to a Georgia Romance Writers meeting and find the affirmation I need to keep going. Knowing that there are so many truly talented people out there who remain unpublished or who are self-publishing makes me feel like part of the group instead of one isolated, delusional, middle-aged hopeful romantic.

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