Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Interested in writing? Find your ‘tribe’ here

Chronic loneliness is increasing among all age groups, but especially among those in their 40s and 50s. The November issue of AARP magazine includes an article citing mounting evidence that loneliness significantly increases the chances of diabetes, sleep disorders and other potentially life-threatening problems.

Among less threatening risks are high blood pressure, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, weakened immune systems and Alzheimer’s disease. The good news is that other studies show the positive effects of finding one’s “tribe.”

Writers belong to a “tribe.” People who write find that creative expression colors the way they interpret life. Their writer’s “voice” becomes their unique way of selecting details and setting them on paper.

Their brain reacts by producing endorphins that decrease physical pain and enhance their quality of life and longevity.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Writing is a passion that shouldn’t be ignored. It costs next to nothing, can be engaged in summer and winter, day or night. It’s a lifetime avocation that grows with one’s degree of commitment. But for many, this means balancing writing with day jobs and family responsibilities, making time for creativity whenever it fits — like the late hours of the night.

Hence, our name: NightWriters. We’re a San Luis Obispo County writers’ organization that has been around since 1988.

San Luis Obispo NightWriters members are both published and unpublished, writing in areas that range from literary, commercial and genre fiction and poetry to screenwriting, memoir, nonfiction and blogging. Local members hail from within the county, but our website enables participation from writers all around the world.

Because San Luis Obispo NightWriters feels so strongly about the physical and physiological benefits of writing as a creative art, we are on a mission to increase our name recognition and accessibility to all writers in the county.

Our members participate in critique groups, writing workshops, contests and special events. Some of our published authors speak to organizations and present workshops for young writers through the school system.

The critique groups are small. They nurture beginners, offering support, feedback and social networking with the goal of improving our writing skills.

Anyone interested in writing is invited to attend free monthly meetings where featured presenters give informative talks and practical workshops. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the KCBX Public Radio media room at 4100 Vachell Lane, San Luis Obispo.

Writing can be a lonely art. Live well, love longer. Come join us. And check out our website at www.slonightwriters.org.

Anne Schroeder is the publicity director for the San Luis Obispo NightWriters.