I do my writing in between the cracks of a fulltime job, four dogs, two horses, and the renovation of our house, in which a lot of the work is done by my husband and myself. So yes, my writing time is precious. Very much so. However, most evenings, at least one hour of my time, and sometimes more, is not spent drafting, revising, or editing. Not exclusively. That time is spent in an online writing community, where I am one of the founding members.
For some people who, like me, live in a part of the world where English is not a prevalent language, where cons are few and far between and writing groups even more of an oddity, these online groups are pretty much the only opportunity we have to interact with other writers on a regular basis.
When we first started out, our community had a whopping ten members, give or take, and already we spanned the globe. We had several members living in the US and a strong contingent of at least four people in Europe and Asia, jokingly called the night shift.
But as we built a website, ventured onto Twitter and Reddit, and started promoting our community, our ranks grew and our modest little Discord server sprouted channels left and right. And one thing we always agreed on is that we want to be welcoming to new members.
We want no one to feel unseen, unheard, or unimportant.
I think we’re doing something right, as our membership continues to expand. As of now, eighteen months into our collective journey, we have just over two hundred members. And what I love the most about them is that they are so so wonderfully diverse, and they feel absolutely comfortable talking about their similarities and differences.
We are a home away from home for members of the PoC community, for those who identify as LGBTQIA+, people for whom English is a second language, neurodivergent folks…
If you write, or if you want to write but are struggling to find the courage, then you have a place with us.
As a group, we have a large number of activities going on all the time. We trade critiques, but we also brainstorm when one of us needs help, and we have word sprints to help you get that draft out on the page. Sometimes, it’s as simple as listening to music together in one of our voice channels while you’re writing. Experienced rejectomancers are always at hand to engage in this fine and honorable art. We commiserate when a rejection comes in and cheer for every acceptance.
We laugh together, cry together, and most of all, we are there for each other, constantly pushing each other onwards and upwards.
Nothing makes me prouder than to have stood at the cradle of the INKubator, and to be at hand when a moderator is needed, though that is rarely the case. Nothing brings me more joy than to see a 15-year-old writer’s happiness over an accepted drabble, or to see one of our members adopting the pronoun roles we implemented on the server to avoid misgendering and show that we actively work at being allies.
And so, the writing time I sacrifice doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. It’s a joy and a treasure that I hope to have for a long time to come. If you’re considering starting up a similar initiative, I can only advise you to give it a try. It enriches you and your writing in more ways than you thought possible.
If that thought overwhelms you, why not join an existing community? Not every group is the same, and neither is every writer. Gods know we can play and banter as hard as we work and some may find that a bit overwhelming.
There’s only one way to find out whether the water is too hot, too cold, or just right, and that’s by dipping your toes in.
If you’d like to learn more about the INKubator, you could have a look at our website, but the best way to get to know us is by stopping by for a visit.
BIO: Writer, poet, and narrator Jasmine Arch lives in the Belgian countryside with two horses, four dogs, and a husband who knows better than to distract her when she’s writing.
She grew up devouring her brother’s collection of sci-fi and fantasy novels, and her love of the written word in all its incarnations goes back further than her memories and knows no rivals, except the long-suffering husband, though coffee and shoes come pretty close.
Her work has appeared in Illumen Magazine, The Other Stories, and Quatrain Fish, among other places. Find out more about her at jasminearch.com, or connect with her on Twitter @Jaye_Arch.
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