“I called the name [Inkling] a ‘jest’, because it was a pleasantly ingenious pun in its way, suggesting people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas plus those who dabble in ink.” (J.R.R. Tolkien in a letter dated 11 September 1967)
As an inkling, I gather regularly with other individuals eager to study the art of writing. This community of writers is an indispensable dimension of what it means to be an inkling. Indeed, it might be argued that no inkling is an island, entire in him- or herself.
For three decades now I have recognized that being an active member of a writer’s group improves my work both qualitatively and quantitatively. The truth is I write much more faithfully when I know I will be attending a meeting where friends are curious to know how my various projects are progressing. In the past, whenever I moved to a new location without an existing writing community, I simply gathered other interested people and started one. In fact, on the first anniversary of September 11th I was gathering with fellow writers each Saturday to focus on this renewing exercise . . . even as we supported Operation Enduring Freedom from Shabaz Air Base in Pakistan.
Beyond the selfish motivation, I also possess a genuine desire to assist and encourage others in their own writing journey. I have always found mentoring others to be extremely rewarding.
If you have any writing aspirations of your own, I strongly encourage you to seek out a group of dedicated writers who meet frequently. Some of these are faith-based, while others are genre-oriented. There are also groups without a unifying ethos, although from my past experience such fellowships struggle to retain their cohesion
If you should be so fortunate as to find a community as invigorating as Oxford’s Inklings, count your blessings. But don’t measure your local options by that lofty standard. Joining a circle of likeminded friends as you pursue your writing can still be amazing even if it is populated by imperfect writers like you and me.