First, I want to start this post by thanking all of the writers who showed up to my first online writing session. I want to thank them for all the positive energy. I want to thank them for being and for accepting that initial invitation. If it weren’t for them agreeing to come and being excited about an online writing session I would have slept this Sunday evening until it was time for me to get up at 4am for work tomorrow. I am so grateful for each one of your smiling faces on Google chat.
I am also grateful the confident woman writing her dissertation, who initially gave me the encouragement to just set the date. She said she planned to finish her dissertation in a year. She said people thought she was crazy. She also said that she writes for three hours a day religiously. As soon as she shared that I remembered Bell Hooks saying that she also writes for a set period of time daily. Then I wondered if I just sat down daily to write, would I write?
Anyway, before anyone agreed to meet me for an online writing session this PhD student asked when did I want to do it. She also wanted to know what time zone was I operating in. Things that seem like they would naturally occur to me, but didn’t. It was her questioning that helped me finally nail down a day. It was her saying that she would meet me to write whenever just post the time, that made me set a date and show up.
She had an assignment due by midnight Sunday, and couldn’t do the writing session, but the group existed in that space and time because of her. I appreciated her taking the time to email me about when it was happening again, something else I hadn’t considered, mostly because I wasn’t sure if anyone other than me was up for JUST WRITING.
Just about writing:
For a moment a few weeks ago, I couldn’t write enough. My hands couldn’t keep up with the pace of my mind weaving this story. I didn’t question why it started to flow. I am a new “productive” writer and I haven’t figured out my rhythm. I don’t know if I’ll eventually write a book a year or a book every other year. From reading my favorite writers, I learn not to judge my process or try to force creativity.
What does that mean, “not to try and force my creativity?” I mean, books don’t write themselves. You do have to give yourself some goals. I hardly ever meet my goals in writing, but I show up most of the time and I write… So right now, I’m thinking the point is not to meet the goal but to have a goal to strive towards. I enjoy writing, all the phases of it and there are many phases.
Still I want to complete books, regularly. On the other hand, I don’t know when my next book will be done. I tried forcing myself to have one done by September but I learned in that uphill battle that’s not how I write. Going forward I won’t give a date in the project being released. I will simply note what projects I’m working on. A lot of people were disappointed this September.
What I do know is, I won’t ever release anything until I know in my spirit it’s time. Even in that I’m worried, I have questions. Does that mean I will be done with the first draft in two months or two years? Then there is a long editing process. Does that mean there will be a few years between books?
If I wrote formulaic books I could write a book a year. I want to be prolific. I want to be relative. I want to write classics that will be studied in college. I want to leave my books behind when I transition. I don’t mind taking my time to reach my goals, but how much time?
For some reason I haven’t really sat down to write in Daughter of Zion for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I worked on a script for a video I’m putting together with friends. About a week ago I laid out all the chapters I’ve written so far to see where to go next. Life has been happening, but you have to make time for writing. So I decided I would be proactive and write with others.
I invited all the writers in every writing group I’m in on Facebook to do a writing session. It was kind of scary. Some of the groups for whatever reason only wanted certain kinds of posts. Even though I was promoting my books and doing what I thought was helpful, Admins told me I wasn’t allowed to invite people to write. In on of the groups, I received a notification that said someone responded to the post, but when I went back and said I couldn’t find the post the Admin told me it was deleted then read me. It’s weird, writers want to talk about writing, critique writing, reading, promoting, editing, book covers or share open submissions but no one wants to just meet and write. I found it interesting that I was met with so much hostility for asking to meet to do what made us all who we are. I ended up deleted at least one of the invites.
After days of responses, I was able to re-evaluate all the groups I’ve joined. I removed myself from several, just because they were dormant or didn’t serve a real purpose in my life. I turned on notifications for some I realized were great resources I’d been missing out on because I was overwhelmed by all the groups I’d joined or was added to.
Anyway, of those groups I only had three people actually say they wanted to join me writing. Mostly people wanted to talk about other things writing groups should do outside of writing. I specifically called it “WRITING SESSION” but people wanted to know if we would be reading each other’s work. Another person wanted to know if we would be doing critiques. Another person wanted to know if we would be networking. Some of them added they already belonged to writer groups where they met to have dinner and network. I spent hours answering questions, but mostly saying, “we are just going to write.” Or, “I’m not looking for more work, so I’m not critiquing.”
I’ve never been someone who likes to say no, so it was difficult saying this is not the group for you, we are not addressing those needs. Some writers wanted to know if we would be posting prompts or teaching writing. All the questions actually helped me figure out what the guidelines are, and I didn’t want it to have rules or guidelines. Maybe for anything to work you need boundaries…
At some point during the session seven of them showed up. Four showed up in the first few minutes of me signing into Google chat. None of them came from the groups, they were friends. None of them needed guidelines. In fact, I thought I would have to apologize for leading the group but wanting to write with headphones on… But all but one of them came on screen with headphones in. We did introductions, talked about our projects and learned how to get in contact with each other through Google. About twenty minutes in we went to our respective projects and started to work.
I did check FB to see if I’d missed anyone. One writer/friend hadn’t set up Google chat, so she said she would still observe the window as a writing time. One guy from the group came in late and I didn’t realize it until after the two hour window. For me it was a huge success. The goal was to commit to writing today, which I did.
Today was a long day and if it were not for the writing group I would have slept after I got off from work. Then I would have eaten and prepared for work tomorrow. I wrote almost two thousand words today, which is amazing for one two hour period.
I didn’t know when we would meet again, initially. I was thinking a couple times a month. I was excited when the other writers said it was not only helpful but they’d be interested in meeting every Sunday evening. So we’re meeting again same time, next Sunday evening.
*Productive- creating products for sale to readers and building a career in writing.