Writing is lonely. It’s in a room with a closed door. It’s in your head. It’s in another world. That world is wonderful, because in it, everything you ever dreamed of happens, but it’s yours and yours alone. When I play games or sports, I have my team or my opponent. When I make stained glass, I can share the process with others in the studio. But writing…I close my door, I put on headphones, and I disappear.
At some point, you want your characters to walk outside of your head. You want to share your vision. But it’s not easy. Sports we can invite others to participate in through spectating. Art we can show all of our friends because it takes only a moment. But a book, that takes time. You can’t just show off your latest chapter to every relative or friend who comes around. When I have shared, more often than not I have to ask for feedback and a minute of generic conversation follows. These are not people who can share in my passion. These are not people who can understand what it is to have a world trapped inside you trying to get out. For that, a writer needs to find others who share a love of the written word.
This is why Leasspell was created in 2011 as an online writer’s group for fantasy and science fiction. Leasspell is an Old English word that means a story or fiction. It is a place to weave our spells with our tales and immerse ourselves in writing with others. Leasspell was started as a place to teach each other what we knew and to learn the strengths others shared. It gives a sense of community and the all-important deadline to keep us writing. It shares our unique individual visions. And of course, it shows us the cracks in our work through critique and girds us with the armor of praise when we need to get up and try again.
As I near the end of writing my book, I have begun to think about the future. I read a favorite author’s blog that started when he got published. I read other blogs of authors remembering their days before publication. I thought, what if I started blogging about my experience in real time? Shared my triumphs and my failures as I tried to find my avenue to publishing? But that is as far as I went…until two members of our group won a contest and a publishing contract with a small press. I thought, what better time to start a blog about the journey we take as writer’s seeking to unloose our worlds on the real one?
This blog is about encouraging that sense of community. We at Leasspell hope in the days ahead to talk about how to create an online writers group and how to (and not to) critique. We want to share with you the knowledge we’ve given each other and discuss the process of writing. We hope to celebrate our successes and bare our failures as they unfold in real time and to talk about how to find, as one of our members puts it, your own people.
About Jennifer L. Carson
I have dreamed about my characters and my worlds since before I was eight. I wrote my first story before I read my first novel. Writing is my life, from my career as an editor to my leisure time as a writer, amateur teacher, and occasional guest speaker on this subject so near and dear to my heart. If you can’t find me, look no further than the world of Indirian where I am crafting my epic fantasy novel, In a Mortal Shadow.