When Gina Conroy isn't busy homeschooling, chauffeuring her four kids, or avoiding housework, you can find her at Portrait of a Writer...Interrupted blogging with honesty and a down-to-earth perspective on the everyday challenges of finding balance in life. For a play-by-play of her hectic life and musings on brown recluse spiders, visit her on twitter @portraitwriter.
Writing is a lonely profession. We hear it all the time, but for most of us traveling this deserted, maddening path, it’s not a profession at all. We struggle to find time to write, juggling all the chaos and responsibilities in our homes, at our work, and in our lives. When we do find time to write, we battle guilt that we should be tending to some other tasks, and we fight interruptions.
Many of us are parents trying to raise kids. Others are supporting families while working a day job or putting themselves through school or caring for an ailing loved one. Some of us have had success in publishing, even while homeschooling our children. Not one of us has traveled the same path, but we’re all following a dream. A passion. A calling.
And we’re all writers . . . interrupted.
Writer…Interrupted, an online support group/blog/community, was birthed three years ago when, through divine intervention, I gave up writing for a season. To help me deal with my “loss” and figure out how my priorities got skewed, I began an Internet search for encouragement and support. Instead, I found a wealth of information for writers about craft, a slew of mommy blogs, and groups on being a work-at-home mom, but nothing that fit my unique need of balancing family, faith, and a writing career.
Desperate to learn how other women managed writing and mothering and homeschooling, I rallied several writing moms I respected and started a blog. The plan: to encourage one another in our writing journey and to reach out to others who needed the same support.
As we began to blog about our writing, parenting, and homeschooling triumphs and struggles, other writing moms found us. I was on to something, and I wanted to build stronger relationships with these writers. To make it easier for us to stay connected, I started the Writer…Interrupted webring. Soon word spread and the webring grew, but when Mick Silva, an editor at Waterbrook, joined my webring, I realized the real need for a Christian writer’s support system.
When I learned writing interruptions weren’t limited to moms, I opened the group to others interrupted in their writing: men, students, empty nesters, and anyone else needing encouragement. Today we have over 300 webring members and new writers are joining every day.
But with growth came a subtle disconnect. Though we posted daily on the blog and people visited every day, the original vision of a support group was lost. Not many people interacted, and I desired more of a relationship-building community, a real
connection with people in my group. The next logical step was an online social community. And with 450 members in little over a year, it appears other interrupted writers desired more of a connection as well.
Through this entire process, I’ve learned that though we’re all joined by a common theme, our needs are different. Not all of our interruptions are the same. Neither are our struggles. Nothing mirrored that more than the eclectic blog posts and the writers of Writer…Interrupted. As creator of the blog community, I had trouble navigating the site, weeding out what I didn’t need to get to what mattered to me. Information got lost, and if I had trouble, maybe others did as well. It was time for a blog overhaul.
Though it’s still in the construction stages, this summer we’ll be launching a more organized online monthly Writer…Interrupted with easy-to-navigate columns. The magazine will feature encouragement, tips, real-life stories, interviews, and instructions in categories such as Interruptions, Balance, Faith, Family, Marriage, Homeschooling and Craft. What’s different about our site? Our articles are written from the perspective of a writer…interrupted. Every person writing knows what it’s like to struggle with things that pull us from our writing.
Why go to all this trouble? I ask myself that daily. Like I need another interruption in my life! One thing that drives me is I wished I would have had this support group ten years ago when my children were younger. If I could have found a safe place to share my struggles and receive instantaneous feedback from people who’ve traveled the same path, maybe I’d be farther along on my journey. Maybe I would have recognized the bumps in the road. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to give up writing for a season.
At Writer…Interrupted we understand the conflict in finding time to write and how easy it can be to neglect other responsibilities to spend time lost in a world you created. We know what it’s like to feel the sting of rejections and want to throw our laptops across the room. Or how it feels, when after years of toiling and thinking the day would never come, an editor requests a manuscript. Or how our writing gets neglected because life is too full and that elusive contract is the only thing that prevents our “hobby” from becoming a profession.
We know how hard it is to travel the road to publication alone, and yet we hobble along anyway. But there’s no need to go it alone anymore. If you’re looking for support on your writing journey visit us at Writer…Interrupted: The Blog, Writer…Interrupted: The Community, or join our webring to connect with other writers. We’re here for you!