Writing is a lonely business. Time to write is a necessity and isolation is a given. We consider our writing time sacred and guard it with a fierceness that often surprises our friends and family.
We also have a desire, a need, to communicate with other writers. We like to talk about things like developing characters, plotting and other things essential to good writing. Great writer’s don’t create in isolation. Some of the greatest authors of the twentieth century were members of a writer’s community.
C.S. Lewis provides a model for what belonging to a writer’s community looks like. During the 1930s and 1940s, some of the world’s greatest Christian minds made Oxford home. The most famous are C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They and some of their friends, which include Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield and C.S. Lewis’ brother Warnie Lewis, created a writer’s community known as the Inklings. This group of writers shared more than just literature; they shared a love of the Lord.
For nearly twenty years, they met almost weekly to read their latest work aloud, get feedback from one another, drink a pint of beer, and follow God’s instruction to “renew” their minds in their Christian faith. Without this community of believers to refresh their perspectives, Tolkien might never have finished The Lord of the Rings and Lewis may never have finished The Chronicles of Narnia. I can’t imagine the literary world without these magnificent works of literature.
Writers need regular communication with our peers to renew our minds and refresh the perspectives through which we view the world. If our work is a true calling on our lives, our vocation, we must be willing to consider it as a service to God and others. In so doing, we will find our true motivations for creating and discover how we create our works in a community of others following the call.
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