My loneliness birthed an idea: I put together a random list of women I knew, across the various fields and hierarchies of the college, and invited them to meet for a glass of wine. Women, who would ordinarily not have crossed paths, began to meet, talk, laugh, share. Two years later, even though I no longer work there, the tradition carries on and fortunately, I’m still on that email list.
Our get-togethers didn’t quite end up like an Oprah article, but I forged new friendships and enjoyed the conversation and laughter that can only be found in the company of other women.
As I moved into a new phase in life, choosing to pursue writing full-time, I found myself having the same inner craving to find a group of like-minded women to share in the journey. Of course the argument can be well-made that the gender is inconsequential, but I have found, as with my work friends, the camaraderie and understanding of women to be soothing and resounding in my heart.
I have a couple online women writer friends who are my go-to people when I’m feeling stressed, stuck or wanting to celebrate. When I’m in a whining mode, before launching into problem-solving, my women friends will take the time to respond to the heart first, empathizing with my emotions.
A friend of mine and I recently made a “chat appointment” on Facebook to catch up with each other’s writing progress. She knows I’m in the midst of changing my genre focus. Instead of asking what I’m working on or about my goals, she immediately first affirmed my decision by reflecting on the talent she sees in my writing. Like sipping a good wine, I felt my insecurities relax.
Women writers are willing to tackle, not just the mechanics or goals, but to also talk about the more existential reasons for writing beyond a career choice. We are able to acknowledge and explore our journey as an evolving expression of who we are.
I want to be careful to avoid stereotype. I realize these qualities aren’t exclusive to being a woman. I also realize not all women possess nor want to dwell in the emotional and spiritual reasons for writing. But I believe there is a common language in the company of women who share our passion.
I believe strongly in the benefits of the community of women writers. So pull up a chair, and grab a beverage of your choice. Let’s rise above the sense of competition and toast our successes and empathize with each other on this journey. As women, we can be the support our hearts crave.
Julie Luek lives in the mountains of Colorado and enjoys hiking, kayaking and cross-country skiing. She is a freelance writer published in regional and national magazines. She is also a bi-monthly contributor to She Writes and a monthly contributor the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers blog, The Chiseled Rock. Julie maintains two blogs, A Thought Grows and In Fine Company. She loves making new writer friends and supporting and encouraging others on this exciting journey. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and welcomes a friendly hello anytime.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!