Friday, February 11, 2011
The writing life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. But, for me, it has come to involve a bowl of soup.
We all find support in different ways. Comfort food and good friends are among the most common, though, and both have become large parts of my writing life. A couple years ago, one of my dearest writing partners broached an idea, inspired by Anne Randolph’s Soup Kitchen Writing. A few weeks later, we became soupies.
Every Thursday, a few of us who have flexible schedules get together. Alternating homes, we gather for lunch. The meals are simple: soup and bread. But, we get to spend an hour as friends, just chatting about our lives, our celebrations, our frustrations, our dreams. Since we have writing in common, we discuss accomplishments and setbacks in our writing life. But, since we are friends as well, we share life as a whole.
Then, after clearing the table, we pull out our laptops to share writing. Each of us identifies a goal for the day and we begin. Around a dining room table or sometimes in the living room or outdoors, depending out our moods and the weather, we simply write. At the one hour mark, we check progress and coach each other onward. At the two-hour mark, we report and shut our computers down.
The next week, we do it all over again.
It’s a simple concept but it has become such a part of my writing life that I’m not sure what I would do without it.
There is something so basic about sharing. Our soup nourishes our bodies, of course. But the gathering nourishes our souls. For that day, we break away from routine. The simple meal brings friends together to share lives. For writers, introverts that we often are, such times can enrich us more than we realize.
And, then, there is the writing. There are Thursdays when I’ve been stuck and the act of sitting across from my friends, who are all busy typing away, can prod me into creativity. There are productive days where I get pages and pages done. There are days when new thoughts flow and days when revisions get done. But always, I know that those two hours will be full and focused on my writing and that I will accomplish. If it has been a hectic week where life has wreaked havoc with my writing, it will be a day that I return to it.
The writing life is pretty simple sometimes. Who knew soup could be such a wonderful thing?