In September, I joined a Writer’s Success Group. It runs all year, four months at a time, and consists of monthly group phone calls and weekly check-ins about the participants’ writing projects. It’s purposefully small – typically four or five writers - and led by Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse and Journey Juju fame.
It ended a few Fridays ago. And I opted out of the next four-month run, thinking I’d just work consistently during January, February, March and April, then re-join in May for support during the editing process. At the time, I thought it was beneficial, but a little too frou-frou. I’m not one to delve easily into emotions or struggles with people I know, much less new folks.
But now, I realize the invaluable benefit I got from the group: I wrote. I didn’t at first – I outlined and organized and thought things through – but once I started (about mid-point), I began to feel like a writer and it fueled me to write more and more. Another participant said she noticed a big change in me shifting from fear to confidence. What this group gave me was the confidence, despite the obvious vulnerability, to reach out to a dear friend who is now helping me with accountability and consistency.
My process now consists of saying a Writer’s Prayer a few times, procrastinating a little, saying it a few more times, procrastinating a little more….you get the picture. But it ends with the writing. I’ve even had a few breakthroughs and now understand what other writers are talking about. I’m still taking a break from the group, because I know what I have to/want to do until May. And only I can get it done (with aforementioned friend’s nudges).
I don’t know who I think I am, but if I were asked to recommend anything, it would be a group like this, asking a kind friend for what you need, and these two books:
Stephen King’s On Writing. It is so matter-of-fact and unemotional about his writing process. He maintains a healthy distance from his writing now and I love that. I also loved hearing that, by the time he sends a manuscript off to the publisher, he’s so sick of that book he never wants to think about it again. He talks of the overuse of vocabulary and passive voice a lot, for which, as a reader, I can’t thank him enough.
And SARK’s Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. If you’re a person who doesn’t get a lot of encouragement and support and love about your project like I am, it is priceless. The front cover says it all: “Gifting the world with your words and stories”. It’s just cuteness and light and love and happy all over.