Close your eyes and imagine what your ideal writing community would look like. What, you have never considered such a thing? I know. I get it. Most of us who write do so after the work day is over or on the weekend in solitary confinement. We etch out poems, stories, and the great American novel while huddled in some nook where no one can see the anguish and torment we put ourselves through. When we think we have something good, we send it out, then wait as we start the writing cycle all over again. It is easy to become a writing miser, hoarding pencils and journals instead of investing in a literary scene. So, why is it so hard to have both?
For me, I foresee a vibrant literary scene in Northwest Indiana. There is a small foundation already set in place by many writing groups and organizations. For example, Indiana Writers’ Consortium members host a variety of independent writing groups that workshop regularly (Highland Writers Group, Write-On Hoosiers, Magic Hour Writers) and there are more and more opportunities for reading at open-mics hosted by coffee shops and art galleries. These events are fantastic, but is this enough to call it a lit scene?
Within the urban literary scene, participants can expect to find numerous venues hosting readings, book signings, oral interpretations, and poetry slams. There are also literary journals, creative writing workshops, book sales, and thriving independent bookstores. Centered in the middle of the urban literary scene is the all-encompassing community writing center from which writers of all ages benefit. When I close my eyes, I imagine Northwest Indiana buzzing with live lit events and writers working together in the community. But what steps can we take to get to this point?
First and foremost, we must all put in time. Yes, time. It only takes a few moments to share an event on Facebook or to retweet a fellow writer’s newly published work. This is a “we are all in this together” mentality, and baby steps will eventually mature into strides. A supportive writing community is essential for IWC to successfully implement new projects in the future. Member participation in local events help foster a relationship between associates and the general public. As public involvement increases, the IWC will develop new programs that will benefit the community.
Don’t underestimate the value of what you have to offer as a writer. We all have dreams and most of us want to play a part in something important. Maybe you wish to teach others about poetry or to inspire the next generation of writers. Maybe you hope to provide a space where writers can experiment with words in front of a crowd or to start a small press. Whatever your ideas, send them to Indiana Writers’ Consortium and let’s work together to create a space for us all to thrive creatively.
Close your eyes again. Imagine your ideal writing community. Now make it happen.