February 29, 2016

Writers Connect by Bob Jones


By nature I’m a loner. My teenage ambition was to be a hermit. “How on earth did you ever become a pastor?” (That’s a post for another day.)

Isolation suits my writing well. However, my inclination to isolation was blown up a couple of years ago.  In November 2013 I read Michael Hyatt’s, “Platform.” He got me thinking about writing, sharing my writing and connecting with other writers.

What about starting a writer’s group?

 A Writers Group

To insure my ambition had some accountability I posted on Hyatt’s website”

“One of my goals for 2014 is to organize a group of aspiring writers in our church - North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta - and be mutually supportive in seeing each of us write and publish our 1st print book or eBook by the end of 2014. We will use your "Platform" resources as a strategy to succeed. We’ll record and share our journey to help other aspiring writers in their journey.”

In December I sent out an email invitation to people in our church who expressed an interest in writing, to form a “Writers Group.”

“I couldn’t shake the thought that 2014 would be great if I not only achieved my goal of writing, as well do it in a community of people who were mutually supportive of achieving our goals of writing.”

Starbucks Startup

Four of us met at a Starbucks on December 19th and agreed to start in January 2014. We’ve done well at starting a group and not so well at blogging about our journey. This post helps me fulfill that part of the commitment in a tangible way.

As of February 2016 we now have 14 participants including Sheila Webster, VP of Inscribe.
A couple of the participants created Social Media accounts and a personal website to share their work.
Two participants published their first book in 2015.
One participant decided to retire from their 30-year business career and begin writing fulltime. He is now published in national magazines.

Fledgling writers have flourished. We’ve published their first public offering on our blogsite, “Pointe’s of View” and readers have posted very supportive comments. Affirmation  is like pouring gasoline on a fire for aspiring writers.

When I share my writing in the group the feedback I’ve received has invariably improved it. We’ve been polished up without being polishing off.

In Touch With The Writing Community

Launching my book, “Ornament” brought me in touch with the writing community. I met wonderfully encouraging people like Marty Chan, writer-in-residence at the Strathcona Library. Marty took time for a coffee to share his writing habits and marketing insights. Meeting Sarah E. Ball, Ruth Thorogood and Sheila Webster introduced me to The Word Guild and Inscribe.

It seems simple but my confidence as a writer has grown because of my association with writers. Maybe its bit like the man who brought his mule to the Kentucky Derby – he knew his mule wasn’t a thoroughbred but “the exposure would do him good.” Associating with seasoned writers has brought me an inkwell full of good.

Connecting with writers guilds and associations has given me broader exposure, additional opportunities and added responsibility by blogging monthly about writing.

Your Own Writers Group

For this loner connecting with writers has fulfilled a longing of belonging I could not have accomplished without them.

Why not form your own local “writers group?”

Here’s the format our group uses.

Writers Group Format
1. Purchase the “Platform” as a primary resource.
2. Talk about where we are in our writing process.
3. Commit to grow or start a blog or FB page to share your writing.
4. Write 500 words. Print a copy for each participant. Read the submission out loud. 
5. Receive verbal and written supportive, objective feedback.
6. Follow writing prompts to foster a daily writing practice.
7. Commit to the goal of publishing an eBook or print book by the end of 2014.
8. Hold a Writers Group meeting once a month for the rest of the year.
9. Stay in touch electronically every week.

This is how our group does it but there are many ways to form a group.

Inscribe offers help and resources for local writing groups. Check the Inscribe website to find a writing group in your area, or send an email to get information on how to start your own group.  

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for this timely post Bob. It's great to have you on board as a regular contributor. if anyone is interested in forming a writing group, [lease check out the resources available through the inscribe website. I would be happy to send you more info about the benefits and how Inscribe can help.

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    1. Thanks Tracy for the opportunity.

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  2. This is an encouraging post; I am part of a local fledgling writer's group for writers of children's books and another online one, as well as a new InScrbe member looking forward to making new connections in this group.

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    1. I'm glad ts encouraging. Good things start small. Its good that you are a part of a fledgling group.

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  3. I must admit that you caught my attention with your opening statement, "My teenage ambition was to be a hermit." I do hope we learn more about that. Please don't leave us hanging! Thanks for sharing about your connection to a writers group.

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    1. That will come soon, Vickie! Thank you.

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  4. I long for a writer's group that could actually meet once a month. There have been suggestions of online groups...but I have enough of that and not enough of actually seeing people and being able to talk to them in person...by the way...what is a platform? You mentioned purchasing one.
    I found your blog informative and humorous. Especially the part about bringing the mule to the Kentucky Derby lol. Isn't that how many of us feel when we step out and join other, more accomplished writers? I know I do.
    Also, I loved how goal orientated your writers group is; to have a book or e-book published by end of year. That's great, as often writer's group flounder and then die off. Thanks for this and the inspiration. May just re-contact some local people (in Saskatchewan local can be a few hundred miles away haha) and see if we can get something going down here on the lonesome prairies :) Oh and congrats on your accomplishments. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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    1. "Platform" is a book by Michael Hyatt. Its quite informative and motivational for fledgling writers looking to build a network of readers and writers. Practical tips on how to start on how to secure good exposure on Social Media. You have the quite the sense of humor as well! Thank you for your comments.

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  5. Your goals and actions to leave your hermit shell, mingle with other writers, and inspire others to get their writing out there in books is encouraging. I believe God is smiling on the way your writing group, your writing, and your book (Ornament) have taken off. What a beautiful story you have written about Kristen Fersovitch's life, which is a testimony to her faith in God.

    I also visited your groups "Pointe's of View," and posted Cheryl's story on my FB page. Congratulations on stretching your field of God's influence and encouraging others to do the same. Your post encourages me as well. Thank you.

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  6. I loved the story about the man who took his mule to the Kentucky Derby because he thought "the exposure would do him good." It is true that as writers the more exposure we have, the more vulnerable we are with each other in our writing, the more we grow both as individuals and as writers. And thanks for your posts--they are always encouraging.

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