One of the many benefits of being a writer is the flexibility to work whenever and wherever I want, but this benefit can also be a pitfall.

Like many writers, I write from home, so my workday often passes without human interaction.

My dogs are always at my feet, but despite being English Labradors, neither of them speak the language.

I’m not lonely, quite the contrary.

As a wife and mother of four, I’m grateful for the solitude, but I also seek meaningful interaction with my writing tribe.

My flock.

The proverbial water cooler in my line of work is the writing conferences, classes, and retreats I attend across the country. Opportunities to talk shop, talk plot, and, when needed, opportunities to give or receive pep talks. I need rooms filled with writers, rooms that surround me with like-minded creatives, rooms that feed my soul.

One particular room that is near and dear to my heart requires a 3,000-mile flight to a beach house on the California coast where I gather every year with six writers who have become like family. Flights to rooms with writers are much shorter when I connect locally through my work with James River Writers.

Why do I seek rooms filled with writers?

Because in my daily life as a wife and mother of four, in rooms where I live, volunteer, attend performances and watch games, I often feel I’m an odd bird. Keenly aware I’m the only writer in the room.

I’m not lonely, quite the contrary.

I’m just a bird, who, from time to time, takes flight to connect with the flock.