This is my last night at the Missouri Writers Guild Conference, and I’m exhausted. I didn’t sleep well due to a loud, early morning storm. I’ve also had other challenges. My phone didn’t work, and last night my computer wouldn't connect to the internet. But after a day filled with several frustrations, I find myself focusing on one word that sums up the experience – community.
Although I’m going to cringe a little when I tell you this, I found the most comprehensive definition of the word on, um, Wikipedia. “In biological terms, a community is a group of interacting organisms sharing a populated environment. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.”
This definition describes perfectly the way writers have come together at the conference to share information, and help each other achieve our goals. Yes, we debate the way we use words, and the best way to write a short story, or article or novel, but we take away dozens of ideas we can use immediately to improve our writing.
Regardless of whether it’s a formal classroom setting, an intimate conversation at the bar or an impromptu meeting in the lobby, we are there for each other, building networks that strengthen our connections. The talk is lively, and often intense. We are serious, and we are happy. We are a community.
"Community." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 09 Apr. 2011