Inspiration in Numbers


We’ve all heard there is “strength in numbers,” meaning that a community is more than the sum of its parts. But for writers there is also “inspiration in numbers,” especially when writers gather in a nurturing and dynamic community.

Every June, I gather with writer-friends at a house on a hill overlooking Penobscot Bay in Maine for a wonderful week of conversation and inspiration. We call it Mainely Writing. Writing is mostly a pretty solitary exercise. It takes focus and the ability to leave one’s everyday world to become immersed in the world of one’s story. It’s a hard thing to do with the distractions of everyday life.

But when a community of writers comes together, it’s magical. In our week in Maine, we talk about stories, we read stories, we discuss new stories that we have written. We laugh, we share, we learn. Our groups of writers changes a little from time to time. Family commitments and life changes mean that some members are absent while new friends join the circle. It’s part summer camp, part slumber party, and part school. We’ve formed a bond of trust; we are sisters in stories–a tribe.

We’ve been doing this together since 2005, and it’s truly the highlight of my year. I come away refreshed and ready to write. This year, we have challenged each other to keep that momentum by meeting daily and weekly writing goals and reporting back to our group. No shame is allowed when goals aren’t met, but plenty of praise and encouragement for all our little victories.

Next year we will move to a new location in a different state. We’ve talked about changing the name of the group, but we haven’t decided on anything yet. We will miss our house on the hill, but our community will remain intact.

Who is your “tribe”?

How do you draw inspiration from your community?



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