Every writer goes through a dry spell at some point in their career, and we each have our own way of dealing with it. Some writers hole up for the duration; cover themselves in a comforter and hibernate. Others ignore the block and continue writing, knowing the rains will eventually come if they push through it…and perform the odd rain dance, or two.
I’ve discovered that my block disappears when I meet new people and visit interesting places. I often find something in that place that sparks an emotion; maybe a memory or a sense of wonder, which in turn spills out on the page. In Second Life® there are inspiring places aplenty: fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi and steampunk themed sims, to name but a few. If you’re stuck for an idea, why not visit some of these creative installations, you’ll be surprised at the wealth of inspiration.
Second Life® is a 3D virtual community developed by Linden Lab. Users create an avatar, move, communicate and socialise using mouse and keyboard controls. Many individuals are able to gain experiences that they’d likely find impossible in real life. I suffer with chronic illness and disability, and isolation is always nipping at my heels. Agoraphobics can meet with others at a virtual cafe, multiple sclerosis sufferers can climb mountains, and the homebound writer (whether through health reasons or personal circumstances) can meet with other writers, publishers and agents (of which there are many in Second Life®) all from the comfort of an armchair.
The Community’s Early Beginnings
I collaborated with other writers as soon as I joined Second Life® in 2007, and our writing group grew organically. Members met once a week, in a windswept coastal cottage, to share their work and chat. It was then that I realised writers crave community, and not only those isolated by disability. Soon, the retreat became too small for the group, and so a sim on a Scottish estate was purchased, and a talented real life designer was hired to help create the place that was destined to become Milk Wood.
The Community Today
Now, 7 years on – and with a fully redesigned literary haven – we have a smorgasbord of literary events devised not only to develop intrinsic ability and build confidence, but to help promote both established and emerging writers. Members enjoy events such as short story workshops, talks on building a following and book promotion, open mics, book readings, virtual meet and greets, poetry readings and daily writing challenges. With a friendly and inclusive environment and an experienced team of writers to host events and offer encouragement, you won’t fail to feel at home.
A great many of our members have gone on to find publishing success. Time and time again we’ve heard that it was the community spirit and the daily writing exercises that helped them achieve their goal, not to mention the wealth of workshops and knowledge shared by other successful writers.
Virtual Writers has come a long way from its early days with 5 members sitting around a virtual kitchen table. Now with over 1,500 active members in Second Life®, 30,000+ social media followers, and a dedicated website, forum and blog, we’ve expanded beyond virtual worlds and social media into real life, with plans to create regional writing groups around the UK, and a bi-annual literary journal. We maintain our goal of creating community and promoting the writer and his spark of genius – we’re also quite good at helping fend off the odd spell of writer’s block.
Virtual Writers is a popular online writers’ community committed to showcasing established and emerging writers in a range of interactive and immersive environments. We learn to experiment with digital, social and virtual world platforms to push the creative envelope and develop a strong, unique voice.
We host online writing events, workshops and interactive readings; presenting a wealth of opportunities for writers to meet and share resources.