Do you ever write in a group as well as on your own?
I tend to be a solitary writer, with the occassional dabble into writing in the company of others for workshops and classes.
Spending a week with other writers in Sardinia gave me the chance to experience what happens when you write more regularly as part of a group.
(Although I was supporting and facilitating the retreat I also took part in the exercises as a participant. The reflections below are based on that participant perspective.)
We did a number of timed writing exercises, 15 minutes at a time. It was fascinating to see just how much we could write in what appeared such a short period of time – and what good quality it was too, even at the first, unedited, cut.
I was also aware of the way my mind was starting to adjust to the 15 minute time frame, and anticipate the prompt, the challenge to get it down. Even if I’m doing them on my own in the immediate future, timed exercises are definitely getting added to my regular writing practice list.
The dynamics of a small, supportive group meant that we got to know each other’s writing, and the stories, the lives, that lay behind the words.
This helped to create the space for thinking and reflecting, for bouncing ideas off other people who were interested in your work and ideas.
The act of writing is only part of the process. Working with others who can help you think out loud is invaluable.
The combination of timed exercises, intelligent company and challenging prompts proved good for the muse.
Those of you following my progress here will be proud to know I dipped my toes gently into the waters of fiction (admittedly just a couple of random contributions to Alina Popescu’s vampire novel, but still, it’s a start ) and found short poems materialising, day after day.
Reading my work:
This was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I really enjoyed reading my work out to a group. I hadn’t realised quite how much until they kindly pointed out how much I was throwing myself into the reading of my work. I think this is partly because of the rhyme and rhythm I enjoy in writing… Whatever it was is, it’s fun
More of it:
I got so much from the experience of writing and reflecting with a group, I’m definitely going to create opportunities for more of it.
Both groups that I can write in and as part of, and opportunities for others… including you, maybe?… to write on your own and together as part of a group.
If you’ve written as part of a group before, how did you find it changing your writing? Is it something you’d like to do more of in the future?