One of the hardest things to cope with, for a writer (or at least for me), in these complicated times, is the lack of opportunity for face-to-face chit-chat with other writers. I had no idea how much I relied on it.
In the early days of lockdown, I had enough ideas in hand to carry on writing regardless. But as time went on, despite keeping in touch online with my writer friends, the well of ideas began to run dry. What’s missing is that idle chit-chat. How many times have I turned to someone in one of my writers’ groups and said, ‘You’ve just given me an idea!’ Chance remarks have set off many a chain of thought, and kept the well of ideas full.
Email exchanges just don’t cut the mustard in this respect, precisely because they are more considered, less spontaneous, than face-to-face chatter. Zoom meetings are a step in the right direction – but they still lack that happy spontaneity, and the thoughtful gaps that occur when you meet in person feel awkward on Zoom. What I’m really missing (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) is proper face-to-face, in-the-same-room discussion and the opportunity to get to know new people. And although our libraries have now reopened, the possibility of community groups meeting in them as before still seems pretty distant. All very depressing.
So imagine my delight when I found a very local event advertised for this weekend – a workshop. Not a writing group, but real people with a point of interest (something new to me – what bliss) in common. It’s not only an opportunity to spend a couple of hours with new people, it’s also a chance to see how this kind of event can be organised in the current climate. I bought a ticket on the spot.
I’m seriously hoping the well of ideas, running so perilously close to empty, will get a thorough topping up. Who knows, it might even brim over.