Updated: Mar 9, 2020
I spent much of my teen years trail riding on borrowed, spunky Arabian horses in the open space behind the housing development across the street from my lesson barn. After waiting for a gap in traffic to cross the busy road, I and my equally horse-crazy friends headed for the hills behind the homes and trotted the two miles to Folsom Lake. We never had a map. Along the way, we usually encountered other equestrians, somewhere in the maze of dead-end deer paths and loops and junctions that crisscrossed the woods and fields like the scribbles of a child’s coloring page. Besides the perfunctory “your horse is so pretty,” our exchanges often included, “Does this trail go through? How far until this intersects the Pioneer Trail? Is that way still blocked by the downed tree?” while our horses eyeballed each other with curiosity. Even if we were headed in different directions, each connection carried camaraderie.
Every writer has their own trail to take, and the nature of the work often makes it a solitary one. But the journey is so much better together. One of the best ways to make those connections is at a writer’s conference. You cross paths with other writers heading in the same direction. Perhaps you even ride together for a little while before the trail splits. You learn from experienced trail blazers turned trail guides. And you get home with a better sense of direction.
Find a herd to ride with – those friends who don’t glaze over when you geek out on grammar. Join a critique group. Take a writing class through the community college. Participate in a book club.
Take the trail together.