BY ALLISON MATYUS
The act of writing is a solitude act between the writer, the pen and the paper but local group Indie City Writers are trying to change that for South Side authors.
The weekly group that is made up of diverse writers meets to create, refine, share and learn about their writing processes. KB Jensen, a published author and Hyde Parker, noticed a lack of a solid writing community here on the South Side.
“I was tired of trekking to the North Side for all these writer events,” said Jensen. “I wanted to see if there was a way to tap into the Hyde Park community’s writing community because we really do have a ton of writers around here.”
A couple of those writers are Michael Kennedy and Kayla Gordon, both members of the Indie City Writers. Kennedy has been published twice and Gordon has written three novels.
“Writing can be very lonely, and we’re here to curtail loneliness,” Kennedy said.
“When I was writing my book “Painting with Fire,” I was totally isolated and I was like, ‘Where are my people?’ and now I have found them,” Jensen added.
The meetings vary from writing prompts (writing about a given topic or inspiration to get the creative juices flowing), critiquing others’ work, readings and guest expert authors. On Nov. 19, the Indie City Writers will welcome guest lecturer and bestselling author of “Nobody’s Child”, Libby Fischer Hellman to give the group some inside advice.
Jensen said she also has plans in the works to involve the group with reading events at local businesses on the South Side. For writers, sharing your work can be the most difficult part of the writing process, but the group is trying to get people out of their shells to open up about their talent.
“Your writing is very personal and intimate and you put your everything on display so you’re careful with who you trust with it,” Gordon said.
“It’s been really rewarding to see people who are closed off with their writing open up and get used to the idea of people seeing it,” Jensen said. “What’s the point of writing something if you don’t share it with anybody?”
The 10 writers that make up the Indie City Writers vary in experience and genre, from published fiction novelists to amateur poets looking to perfect their craft and get each others opinions.
Jensen, Kennedy and Gordon agree that the only way to get better at writing is to keep writing. As a writer’s group, they are supporting their fellow writers and members that are participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) during the month of November.
The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write every day during the month of November to have a goal of finishing a 50,000-word novel by Nov. 30. Even skilled writers like Jensen are intimidated by the hard-core writing that takes over during NaNoWriMo.
“In terms of actually producing a great novel in a month, it will kill you,” she said.
“The book I’ve been working on for over 18 months is currently 25,000 words so it’s doing two years worth of work in one month for me,” Kennedy said.
Even though the Indie City Writers may not be churning out 50,000 words this month, their Thursday meetings from 7-9 p.m. in the Treasure Island Community Room, 1536 E. 55th St., are truly helping the community of writers in the area.
“We are always getting new people every week and it just lets us know there are a lot of people on the South Side who are passionate about writing,” Gordon said.