The first two chapters of my current project were recently featured in Luna Review. The article also included a brief Q & A. In thinking about one of the questions I wished I had extended its boundaries just a smidge.

The question was, “What do you see as the value of writers’ conferences or writing workshops, beyond a chance to drink among fellow lunatics, I mean authors?”

First, one should never underestimate the value of a drink, or two, with fellow lunatics. It is often an overheard exchange, a bantered notion, or a tangent in conversation, that triggers the next story idea.

In thinking further on it the question, it addresses the inherent contradiction of a life as a writer. Outside of the collaborative process associated with TV and Film, writing is a solitary process. Hours spent writing and re-writing, checking mechanics, tweaking sentences for that right word.

Over the past thirteen years of learning how to write, I’ve concluded that this solitary existence is made easier by finding your band of lunatics. Be it a writers group, a community within a writers conference/workshop, or… as I probably should have included the value of virtual communities. I’ve found several over the years and will highlight others in later posts.

I’ve found one such community with a podcast, The Dead Robots Society and its followers page on Facebook, the Listeners of the Dead Robots Society. The hosts Paul E. Cooley (author of The Black Series, and just released Derelict Marines)  and Terry Mixon (author of the Empire of Bones Saga and soon to be released dystopian Grid Down) put out an episode about once a week – 430 episodes as of the writing of this entry. Topics span interviews with fellow authors; discussions of craft and genre; discussions/debates of the business of publishing, Indy v. Traditional v. Hybrid; or grammar and mechanics. The banter is quick and entertaining; the language is occasionally adult. The content is first-rate.

Though the hosts have changed over the years, the goal has always remained the same — writers helping writers. This objective extends beyond their generosity in sharing experience, to engaging with their listeners online. It is in this engagement that one such virtual community can be found. Members of The Listeners of DRS span genre, gender, geography, and politics, but all engage in the online threads.

If you spend hours a week on the road, as I do, DRS is one of a handful of podcasts that has expanded my knowledge to the industry and craft and remains one of my favorites. DRS can be found on their site, iTunes, and other download services.