The Magic of a Write-In

By Beth Burgmeyer

One of my favorite Why I Write Quotes is: “Because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.”

There are so many magic moments in writing:

  • Getting a fantastic idea for a novel out of nowhere, an idea you didn’t know existed five minutes ago.
  • Moments when your novel seems to write itself.
  • Moments when the characters take over your novel and lead you on a journey you never expected to go on. A journey that was much better than the one you planned to take them on.

There is something magic that happens when writers get together, even when they aren’t writing. There’s something so energizing about sitting in a room with other people who are as passionate about writing as you are. It’s refreshing to be with people who speak your language, who truly understand the lowest lows of writing and the highest highs. It’s a crazy world and non-writers must often wonder if we writers might just be a little bit crazy.

I know I probably sound crazy when I tell people that I feel like some of the words I write seem to come from somewhere other than me. Or that my characters are always with me, having conversations in my head, telling me what they want to say and what their story is. I’ve learned not to argue with them, because they’re usually right. When I say this to other writers, they give me a knowing smile and their eyes light up and they proceed to talk about their characters as if they’re real people. They are, at least to us.

The Des Moines Writers’ Workshop holds a write-in once a month for all Des Moines area writers and we’ve just recently gotten the word out to other writing groups, inviting them to join us. Our write-in this past Sunday was one of the biggest we’ve had. It was magical to sit around with authors I knew and authors I’d just met because none of us were strangers. We were all connected already just by the fact that we’re writers. There were no awkward moments of silence, just the sound of excited voices as we all talked about our writing: about our genres, about our current projects, about the struggles, about the joys. We all shared gems of wisdom we’d learned along the way.

We talked for almost an hour and the energy from that conversation carried over into our writing time. People gradually moved to their own quiet spaces in the room to write. Although we were sitting alone, immersed in our own writing, we were still connected and that energy never left the room. I looked around at all of the writers and felt blessed to have found an incredible community of writers in the Des Moines area.

One of the writers who was there is a poet, and he wrote a poem right there at the table while we were all talking. He said his words were inspired by what he felt as he sat there with us. He gave me permission to post it. Thank you, Robert, for the poem, and thank you to all of the writers who were there in person on Sunday and to those who were there in spirit. Thanks for the magic.

 CHANNELS OF LOVE by Robert Tolson

Colors obsolete
Words the strength
Feelings… the cohesiveness in this gathering

Colors combined
to make new impressions
lasting visuals
on the timeline of life

Colors that define cultural structure
Hearts redefine
the soul’s alignment with unity

Direction placed
in the minds of wonderers
bound by the navigation
of teamwork

Skin tones become transparent
as the importance of understanding
trumps pigmentation.

(Channels of Love)


Beth Burgmeyer

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