Search & Find: How Writer's Bloc is Uniting Dallas Writers
Dallas novelist, Jesus Galvan, describes his experience with Writer's Bloc, a peer-editing writer's group, and how it has led him to connecting with other local writers.
Jesus Galvan | 18 May 2018
For most of us the idea of writing has a deep correlation with isolation and the myth that in order to write one must keep away from distractions. Often times the writer goes to coffee shops, parks, and other quiet places where he or she can hide and get to work. These writers keep to themselves for so long they start to believe they are the only ones actively writing. They’re so focused on their work they forget to look around and observe their environment. I believe it’s when the writer keeps away from distractions and people, when the writer tries too hard to find inspiration in solitude, that the craft stops being art and turns into a task. Not only a task, but a lonely one too. Perhaps we owe that to Hollywood’s unrealistic view of the writer, which has shaped how writers are seen by others and has misrepresented the writer as the lonely, nerdy, and antisocial character who has no friends and finds himself daydreaming of abstract events. But is that what a real writer is? I believe not.
As a writer, I wanted to find other fellow writers and know about their process, and that’s why the idea of not having other writers around was heartbreaking and hard to accept. I wanted to break away from Hollywood's stereotype of the writer, so I made it my goal to find others like me. That’s when, after some lonely months of writing, I found out about Craig’s Writer’s Bloc. I first heard of this group through a friend who works at Deep Vellum, which hosts the meetup every second Wednesday of the month, and she encouraged me to bring my work in for critique. The idea of my work being critiqued by strangers terrified me, but my desire to meet other writers was much stronger. So with that in mind, I crumpled my ego and prepared myself.
With no expectations in mind, I made my way to meetup with this group of writers. From the moment I walked into Deep Vellum, I was surprised by how welcoming everyone was, especially Craig who immediately approached me with a firm handshake and invited me to take a seat at the table with him. We waited for more writers to show up until most of the spots at the table were taken. It was time to begin.
The way critique is done at this workshop consists of bringing in four to six copies of your own writing to be shared with others at the table. Once everyone has a copy, the copy is read aloud by different people as the author (me) stays silent. Notes are written down by the author and the others on the literary piece. The reason why the piece is read aloud is because this allows the author to hear the words spoken from a different mouth to give the author an idea of the nature of the text.
Shortly after the table finished reading my piece the critique started, which required me to keep silent as others talked. I sat quietly listening to their thoughts and ideas of what could make my piece more successful, and also what didn’t work in my storyline. I was given comments that re-energized me and encouraged me to continue with my journey of writing. That day, I witnessed how everyone at that table had also felt alone, how they needed each other for support, and wanted someone to give them a little push to continue with their dream of writing.
Up until this day I continue to go to these Writer’s Bloc meetings where I have become friends with many of the writers, and even best friends with some. Through this group of writers I have learned about short stories, essays, fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, novels, and even poetry, which has expanded my understanding in literature. It is through this same group of writers that I have found my circle - my circle of creatives that strengthen, encourage, and allow me to experience the true essence of writing free from judgement, but at the same time make me feel supported.
Jesus Galvan is a writer out of Dallas who is working on a handful of upcoming projects including a collaborative publication called, Sidewalk Stories Zine. He is a member of Writer's Bloc, a local peer-editing writer's group and is currently working on his debut novel.
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