Many consider writing a solitary endeavor, bringing to mind images of the reclusive author confined to the desk by pillars of paper and streams of spilled ink.

Famous writers like J.D. Sallinger, Emily Dickenson and Harper Lee were notoriously isolated. Yet others thrived in a group setting. Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald frequently met at the Shakespeare and Company bookshop to share ideas and enjoy each others’ company. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were part of the Inklings fantasy writing group that reviewed members’ material and pursued new muses.

These clubs, both then and now, give writers a sense of community, motivation and a fountain of inspiration. Such is no less valuable for our writers from the heartland, like the members of the Boonslick Writers Group.

Boonslick writer Linda Runnebaum didn’t feel connected to the community when she moved from Liberty to Boonville about 18 years ago on the day before her son Michael was born. The Lee’s Summit native excelled at writing as a child, but didn’t seriously write until she was inspired by bedtime stories her husband started telling their children more than a decade ago.

“We’d make up stories before going to bed, and he started this story that took three nights to tell,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow, that would be a cool story to start with.’”

The story has grown into the three-part “Rasafrats” series about a group of adventurous boys and a friendly creature. Runnebaum self-published the series, and it is available on Amazon. But before Runnebaum could bring her idea into reality, she wanted to find other writers to help her along the way. That’s when she met Elizabeth Davis, the present president of the Boonslick Creative Writers Group, the only local writers’ group in the region with membership in the Missouri Writers’ Guild. Joining the group has been a “God send,” Runnebaum said.

“They helped me edit ‘Rasafrats’ from the first book,” she said. “I started coming to the [group] when I could make it, because I’ve got young kids. It’s grown to where [we meet] every Saturday now at Taylor’s Bake Shop.”

Runnebaum has also editing her first adult novel, “Finding Purpose,” a redemption story about a single mother and her homeless former husband.

Interacting with the group helps Runnebaum stay motivated. Sometimes group members are hard at work on their stories, but other times they just talk about the craft and help each other find inspiration. Runnebaum comes home from the group ready to “hit the keyboard,” she said.

“It’s been so influential and so wonderful as far as the support of the community where all of us feel we can go to, and we’ve got likeminded people with the same interests and the same passion,” she said. “It really inspires us all.”

The Boonslick group includes writers of poetry, essays, romance, mystery, sci fi and historical fiction. They have about 10 active members and are always looking for new writers. They meet at 10 a.m. every Saturday at Taylor’s Bake Shop in Boonville unless the room is previously reserved.

Isolated writers are often pessimistic about themselves and their work, but having a support system gives amateur and professional writers a comforting sense that they aren’t alone and there are people out there who want to read their work.

“Just show up at Taylor’s at 10 o’clock Saturday morning,” she said of interested writers. “We are very welcoming, and we’d love to see you.”