“If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in… you will interest other people.” –Rachel Carson
Writing is a lonely pursuit. But if you love to write and don’t want to toil in solitude, there are plenty of ways to get social with others who share your passion.
Loretta Campbell fell in love with horror stories at the age of 9, inspired by her father’s love of Edgar Allen Poe. She began writing in her room and today is an accomplished writer and member of the Horror Writers Association. “I feel the happiest and most alive when I am writing, and of course very much in tune with my spirit,” she said.
One Writer’s Experience
Ms. Campbell is a member of at least three writing groups and started one of her own—Séance Report. She recommends going to public readings or book signings—free events are available all across NYC– to improve as a writer and to meet like-minded people. “It’s a great way to hear what other people are doing and to begin to build a community.”
Creative writing is a powerful act of discovery with myriad benefits. It stimulates your imagination, helping you to see the world in a different way—always a good thing! It helps you develop your own unique voice and vision and crystallize your thinking as you employ logic and structure to tell your tales. The act of describing people, experiences and emotions that may be completely different from your own can open the door to empathy and understanding.
Many Writers’ Groups
Among the many writing groups in just one city – NYC – are 420 Friendly Writers Group, Harlem Writers United, the Astoria Writers Group, NYC Writers Critique Group, the Gay Men’s Writing Group and the Black Women’s Writing Group. Brooklyn-based Writing Under the Influence meets weekly to share drinks and works in progress. Inspired by “Write drunk, edit sober”–a quote misattributed to Ernest Hemingway—it’s “a fun, casual writing group that has drinks while writing. “
The New York Public Library offers free writing classes, including a series of art workshops for adults 50 and older. Writing classes are available across the five boroughs including The Story Studio, Queensborough Community College, and Gotham Writer’s Workshop. At CUNY Graduate Center, The Writing Center offers workshops, webinars and personal consultations, and The Writer’s Institute offers a one-year intensive workshop with leading editors. The Writers Room, NYC’s and the nation’s first nonprofit, provides a shared writing space it calls a “silent sanctuary,” and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Writers Studio, founded by a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, offers online and in-person writing workshops designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices.
Senior Planet Community has a Book Club and a Space for Creatives. The National Writers Union offers membership to a wide variety of writers. Use the occasion of National Writers Day to connect with other writers. Join a group where people read from their works—it’s a great way to begin to build a community.
Free writing groups for seniors are available throughout the country, including The Senior Writers Group at the Carnegie Center in Lexington KY, Voices of Wisdom in San Andreas, CA, Imprint Senior Memoir Workshops in Houston, the Room to Write Series in Wakefield, MA, free creative writing classes in Fairfax, VA, and the High Lights Community Writing Workshops in Skokie, IL
If you want to take a shot at joining the pros, The Writer’s Lab, a program of New York Women in Film and Television, selects 12 promising writers each year, from a competitive pool of submissions, to work with accomplished women mentors from the film industry. The Writers Lab is the only program in the world devoted exclusively to script and career development for women and nonbinary writers 40+.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with writing. Have you met people in writing groups? Are you working on a memoir, novel or poems? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
Want to join an online writing group but can’t afford connectivity? Learn if you qualify – and how to apply – for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Info about classes and registration is here.