How a Drum Circle Relates to Writing

I did something completely new and different last weekend – participated in a recreational drum circle.

Drum circles have been around for hundreds of years (or maybe even thousands, I’m not sure). It’s a time when people come together to play handheld drums and other percussion instruments as a common group. Circles can be used as celebrations, a way to build community, or just a chance to have fun. Our leader started the baseline rhythm and we were able to add to it with our own instruments.

drum 2The first day we learned about the instruments, the concept of drum circles, and having fun together. I played this really cool Brazilian triple chime and had a blast tapping rhythms that hopefully fit with the bigger sound.

We did different rhythms and activities the next day, but they all had the same purpose – to let us express our individuality while still being part of (and fitting in with) the underlying theme.

We ended on Saturday with a time of making wind chime music. We used the quieter, more subtle instruments and didn’t try to stay in synch with each other as much as let the sound of our instrument grow and fade before we played it again. But, underneath it all, two of us tapped buffalo drums to keep a common beat going. It was one of the most relaxing and peaceful times I’ve ever experienced, and was even more special because of sharing it with friends.

Our leader gave us the chance to share some of our thoughts before we ended the time together each day.  I loved hearing how we found connections personally, spiritually, and as writers (because this was an activity at a writers’ conference). Things like:

  • We all have gifts and songs to share, and ways to express ourselves.
  • It’s OK to celebrate our uniqueness and who God made us to be, as people and as writers.
  • We write about different things, for different formats or in different genres. But we’re all still part of the bigger writing community and have a place to fit into the big picture.  
  • There’s nothing wrong with giving ourselves permission to play sometimes – and most of us probably need to do it more often!


DSC04011All in all, it was a great experience – especially considering I had no idea what to expect! I would love to do something like that again if given the chance.

Your turn: Have you ever been part of a group doing something like that? How do you see your enjoyment of books or writing fitting in with other people?  


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