I’m using the term “craft” loosely for the purposes of this post. Consider it “the thing you do for fun and/or to make money”. Hopefully, whatever you do to make money also happens to be fun. I can say this is true for both my day job as a certified tutor and for my slowly growing writing career.
As many readers of this blog are writers, I’ll focus on that. Writing can be an extremely solitary activity. In fact, I believe many of us lean introverted and would very much like to curl up in our hidey holes and produce word babies all day. However, if our craft is to become more than a private hobby, connection is a must, starting with letting others read our work. I do this on an online critique group, where writers from all walks of life and from all over the world come together for one purpose – to help each other improve. This happens both on a small scale, where critique partners make specific comments about a specific submission, and on a larger scale, where “more advanced” writers can instruct others on best writing practices.
I’ve had critique partners in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Argentina, India, Australia, and I’m sure a few others that I’m forgetting. Some are well off. One was homeless. Some are in college, and others are retired. Some are published, while others are just starting their writing journeys. Some claim to be writing experts; others write in spite of a learning disability. And there are countless others filling each of these spectra.
On the surface, we’re just a bunch of writers. Dig in a little bit, and you’ll see how this connection – our craft – allows us to learn more about each other as people. That is, if we want it to. Most of that information I learned in communication related to the critiques I did on their work and they did on mine. The writing gave us a common ground on which to build a working relationship and in a few cases, friendship.
I believe such connection is possible – and in some cases, necessary – in any other craft or occupation. The job brings us together, and though we might be able to do our jobs alone, the connections make it worthwhile. They allow us to vent when we’re frustrated, celebrate victories, and work towards a common goal.
Has your craft allowed you to connect with people you otherwise wouldn’t have?