It was 1985, I was in a poetry group, and I also was planning to attend a writer's workshop out of state. My husband said, "If you really wanted to write, you would write, and you don't need to spend time with other people to do it."
But I knew the poetry group members did help me write better poems and that helped me get a few poems published.
Still, some of the poetry group members who had been to (ta-dah!) the Breadloaf Writers Conference insisted that I wasn't a serious writer if I didn't get up at four or five every morning and write for one or two hours like William Stafford. Well, I had two children, I was teaching college English with papers to grade, and except for a few spurts, i just couldn't make myself do it.
Recently, I read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones (a book lots of people have known about for a long time). She began by describing the importance of one's habitual writing place and of writing every day. But she went on to tell of writing with a friend who is a writer in order to be motivated and be inspired. It can be at a coffee house or at each other's homes.
Now, by a sequence of fortunate events, I've had the privilege of spending eight days at the home of a long-time friend while we both wrote, shared our writing with each other, and made a few suggestions to each other.
First, this helped me write because I was highly motivated to make progress on the memoir I'm writing before I even got to her house.
Second, during those eight days, I added new scenes to my book and filled it out based on my friend's suggestions.
And third--guess what! Now I am getting up (not at 4 or 5 am because I'm retired and I can wait until 8 or 9) and writing for a few hours every morning. My friend and I plan to keep each other apprised of our progress.
Writing every day is optimal--very important. Writing at a library or a coffee house does, as Natalie Goldberg says, break up the monotony and keep a person writing. Writing with a friend or a writing group is a blessing. The "if you're really serious about being a writer" advice can do more harm than good.
My advice is: Keep your eyes on your goals and take advantage when good scenarios for writing present themselves.
Observations on the subjects of friends, family, country, cultures and nature.