Starting a Digital Writing Support Group

I got out of bed to write this post. Let’s hope it’s a good one :)

Two weeks ago, I started rereading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. For those of you who might not know about her, Gretchen is the kind of person who makes you smile. Although I’m not nearly as organized as her, I can appreciate what she has to say in relation to happiness. Her best-selling book, The Happiness Project, details a year of happiness. Not the Eat, Pray, Love kind of happiness where you run off to an island paradise and have too much sex. The Happiness Project was a quiet but impactful year that was spent at home, in the environment where most of your happiness is found anyway. When I read it the first time, I loved it. I lent the book to friends. I wrote about it. But I needed a few reminders about happiness, so picking up her book was a balm.

A few minutes ago, I was in chapter 3: Aim Higher. This is the part of the project where Gretchen started her blog and resolved to work smarter. As I read over her start of a writing group, I had a thought. Maybe I should have something like this.

God knows that I could be more organized and having accountability to keep me blogging is a damn good idea. Words tend to run dry for me when I’ve spent a day working on freelance projects plus my day job, leaving little time for me to write for myself. I make too many excuses. I send myself too many email reminders but forget to act on them. It’s a cycle of suck.

Accountability as a writer is key. There aren’t many bloggers that I know of who can put a crap ton of content out there, stop, and then expect the blog to still be just as popular. Alright, there are a few, but I know I’m not one of them…yet. NEPA Blogs is planning on doing meetings locally, but with my schedule right now, it’s difficult to make them. Maybe I can set up something on the interwebz, independent of location and a bit more free with scheduling.

Anyone interested in starting a digital writing support group? The classified ad would go as such.

 

BLOGGERS & WRITERS WANTED

(say you’re a guru and you can keep walkin’, tiger)

20-something blogger seeking fellow writers for mutual accountability.

Friendly discussion, ideas, and brainstorming will abound. Group bitching likely.

Supportive environment for all bloggers, all subjects. Flexible scheduling.

Meetings monthly or bi-weekly on that screen you’re sitting in front of.

Interested parties: leave a comment.

 

Seriously. Leave a comment.

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10 Comments

  1. What the heck, I could be up for this. Not sure how it would work, exactly, but I could definitely use the accountability, something to get me writing more often and with more success. And in return, it’d be nice to take part in a community and do what I could to help the like-minded.

  2. I’d love to be in on this. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a writing group…though the fact that I’m local sort-of defeats the purpose. I’ve tried to stir up some interest among online writer friends for “exquisite corpse” collective writing projects, but that’s never worked out.

  3. In theory, this interests me. Action, however, is another story. What would “meetings” entail?

    • I’m thinking the meetings would be 30 minutes to an hour where group members can check in with each other to see what everyone is working on. You can submit a post for critique, bounce ideas off other members, get some feedback on things you’ve been posting, talk about ways to promote posts, ask questions, etc.

    • Hey Nicole!

      We figured out the digital writing group and we’d love for you to join us! What’s your Facebook URL? I’ll add you as a friend then grant you access to the group. :)

  4. In the past two weeks I’ve started meeting with a writing group at the Vintage Theater in Scranton. It meets every Saturday from 12:00 – 2:00 – ish. (You and I were actually there for one of their meetings, sort of; if you remember the voices coming from the back of the room during the Pages & Places workshops, that was them.)

    It’s not like I’ve got a ton of experience in this area, but I’m starting to think that the ideal writing group would have both on-line AND in-person components. Members could post compositions to a restricted space – say, a members-only page on Facebook – for other members to read, review, and critique at their leisure. Writing assignments and projects could be parceled out in this space; this would be ideal for group projects, too. Members could then meet in-person once a month or so to interact, argue, and do all the other things that writing groups do when they meet.

    It seems to me that the biggest problems that writing groups encounter tend to be
    – people not showing up for meetings
    – people not actually writing between meetings
    – people losing interest over time

    By having less-frequent in-person meetings but a wide-open online meeting that it essentially continuous, you allow for maximum schedule flexibility. Interest and participation can be gauged directly by activity on the site, and members could apply pressure (and provide support) to those who are falling behind.

    So it seems to me the first step would be to round up interested members and make sure they all have Facebook accounts. Then set up a Facebook group restricted to invited members only (unless everyone is cool with having their raw works out on the net for all to see). Then work out the details for in-person meeting – Barnes & Noble, perhaps? And maybe work out how to provide meeting access to those members who do not live in the area. Skype, maybe?

    • Harold, I totally agree with everything you’re saying here. After gauging feedback from a lot of people, I’m finding that the best “virtual” writing space is probably on Facebook right now. I like to idea of doing a restricted group (much like NEPA Bloggers) and then trying to set something up once per month or so for meetings. Barnes and Noble is a great venue, as is the Vintage Theater. I’ll have to start looking at some options :)

      As for those who live out of the area, I think Skype may be the best option for some of the meetings. Or we could set it up like a buddy system where after the meeting, one or more people can Skype or do a video chat with someone out of state. Almost like a mini-mentorship or something like that.

      This is amazing feedback – is it cool if I post this to the NEPA Bloggers group to invite people?

  5. I’m way late on this I know…but I’m definitely interested if you’re still doing this!

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