Parallel Play: Writers Writing Together by Claudia Mills

I used to think of writing as fundamentally a solitary endeavor. Sure, critique partners, writing groups, and insightful editors are an indispensable part of the process, but when it comes to that moment of putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, we're on our own.

That was before I attended my first "write-in."

What's a write-in? It's basically a party of writers, where what we do at the party is: write. Well, also eat, drink, and have heartfelt conversations about writing, life, and everything. But for the most part: we write.

At first I thought: why would I go somewhere to sit with a bunch of other people, all of us silently writing side by side, when I could just write here in my own comfy house? Ahh, but it's just so much FUN to be writing together with other people who are all writing, too. You can feel the creativity in the air. Instead of writing for just an hour, two at most, as do when I'm on my own, I see that others are writing for a whole morning, and then for a whole afternoon, so I keep on writing, too.

At the write-ins I've attended, the host writer provides some kind of basic materials for a mid-day meal (a big pot of savory soup, or sandwich fixings), and the other attendees bring the rest, including all kinds of nibblies, with sweet treats galore. After writing all morning, we linger over lunch, before we return to write some more. Sometimes we go out to dinner at the end of the day, or at least have a happy hour to celebrate all we've accomplished.

One writer friend, who doesn't have a house big enough to welcome a group of writers, invites us to join her at the Denver Botanic Gardens to write there, which I've done twice now. Magical!

So here I am, writing at a write-in at a friend's house:
Here I am, writing at a write-in, in this enchanting spot at the Denver Botanic Gardens:
Work and play - productivity and festivity - pages written and chocolate eaten. What's not to like about a write-in?


  1. I love how portable our vocation is -- and these write-ins, as you call them, are a great way to connect with other people doing the same thing. Also, that Botanic
    Garden spot looks amazing, like something out of a book about a writer... :-)

    1. Yes, Chris! That's the perfect way to describe it: our portable profession. And yes, that gazebo-like structure could be the setting for a book.

  2. This sounds interesting. This may sound crazy, but another idea is that maybe you could all (or groups of two)work together on the same story. An idea for a story could be put forth and everyone write their own version of the story, then you could compare notes at certain times of the day - pick out the best, combine ideas, etc. I know some writers who work as a team - one's expertise may be in plot and the other in descriptions.

    1. That would definitely be a way to let our creative energies get recharged, Janet.

  3. What a great idea for making writing fun.


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