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Daralyse Lyons on Writing in Community

Periodically, I’ll invite people in the greater writing community to contribute guest posts. I was thrilled when my dear friend Daralyse Lyons agreed to be the first contributor.

When Helen asked me to write a guest blog post for her website, I agreed immediately. Then, she told me the topic.

How am I supposed to write about writing in community? I asked myself. Writing is such a solitary endeavor.

The Robert A. Heinlein quote came to mind: “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”

I’ve always considered myself fiercely protective of my writing “alone” time and have (Let’s be honest) been fairly rude to anyone naïve enough to interrupt me when my pen is pressed to the page. Plus, I’m an introvert, so… How do I reconcile that with the topic Writing in Community?

Crap. Still, when I say I’ll do something, my type-A personality binds me to my promise like a superglued vase. There might be cracks, but it’ll be relatively intact.

Then, realization dawned. While I don’t exactly write with others, and only seldom engage in collaborative writing projects, literary fellowship has begun to feel as essential to me as breathing.

“We’re all strangers connected by what we reveal, what we share, what we take away – our stories. I guess that’s what I love about books – they are thin strands of humanity that tether us to one another for a small bit of time, that make us feel less alone or even more comfortable with our aloneness, if need be,” Libba Bray once sagely said.

She’s right! In the past few years, I’ve forged a number of friendships with both iconic and unknown authors and we share about our successes (few though they may be) and our (many) struggles. I work at a co-working space, surrounded by a community of supportive writers and other entrepreneurs who infuse a spirit of comradery into what would otherwise be my lonely writer’s life. Plus, I have an amazing marketing consultant and friend, who helps me host events for friends and fans and to infuse what I do with love and laughter.

Stop being so literal, Dara, I told myself. Community touches almost every aspect of your writing life.

Even when I am flying solo, writing with only myself to keep me company, I’m engaged in a relationship – with my readers. It’s for them that I apply myself to the craft. It’s with them that I collaborate. Aman Jassal said that “A good reader has the power to move the world,” and, while I can’t speak to the world, I can say that every time someone reads my work and connects with me around it, they not only move me but they know me. Writing and reading are two intensely vulnerable, complimentary acts of exposure and understanding. And, in my opinion, there is nothing more communal than that.

 

Daralyse Lyons is the author of more than twenty novels. As a coach, speaker, and teller of stories, she helps other writers to realize their dreams. For more information about who she is, and the work she does, or to connect with her, visit www.daralyselyons.com

 

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