Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Theme: Community and Writing
By Marcia Thornton Jones

I’m not a joiner. I’m a starter. Not because I have anything against joining existing groups, but because I often find myself gabbing with like-minded companions about a support void and before I know it, “We should start a group,” pops out of my mouth. That’s how several book groups, a couple critique groups, a creativity group, and a few other writing-oriented groups began.

Why I do it? Why take the time? The effort? Why bother to stoke the creative flames of others?

While teaching a recent writing workshop I noticed how energized I became as I developed lessons, worksheets, and exercises. The act of sharing, encouraging, and motivating others resulted in increased motivation for my own writing. That’s when it hit me. By helping others I help myself.

It’s easy, really, for me to identify who feeds my soul and those that drain it. A strong support system keeps me grounded yet energized. What I need to do is nurture those people and things in my community that create optimism and foster joy…and prune those that don’t.

This talk of fostering a supportive community makes me curious about my story characters. After all, if I do my job right, they’ll have increasing obstacles that will require more and more energy, motivation, and perseverance. I wonder…are my characters:

·      Joiners or loners?
·      Leaders or followers?
·      What group would they feel compelled to create?
·      What group would they be tempted to destroy?
·      What groups would they embrace?
·      What groups would embrace them?
·      What groups would they shun?
·      What groups would shun them?
·      Who or what energizes them?
·      Who or what drains them?
·      Who or what motivates them?
·      Who or what holds them back?

I think I just discovered tomorrow’s writing warm-up prompt. Who wants to join me? Maybe we should start a group

12 comments:

  1. Love this post. It makes me think of the old Woody Allen line..."I would have a hard time belonging to a group that would have me as a member." We make room for the ones that enrich our lives. Thanks for posting this.

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    1. I like that quote, too. Group identity can be dangerous sometimes.

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  2. Thanks, Marcia. I, too, try to support other writers—so many have helped me. We're in a tough business and having mentors and mentees(sp) makes it much easier.

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    1. It is a tough business...and seems to be getting tougher!

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  3. Love that line about "those who feed my soul and those who drain it." Creative people HAVE to beware of the soul-drainers...

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    1. And there seem to be so many soul-drainers. How does everyone else deal with them?

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  4. You're a born writer and a teacher, Marcia. I'm grateful for your need to start groups and share the creative process. You've helped me immensely over the years.

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    1. Thanks, Laurie! And I continue to learn from and be inspired by you!

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  5. Marcia, I love the questions you give us to ask about each of our characters. That could practically generate a whole book right there, just to start with those questions and see where they take us.

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    1. I'm glad you like them! Let me know if they spark a new idea or two!

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  6. Marcia, I was dragging my feet about getting started this morning, and your questions have motivated me!

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    1. So glad they inspired you! Makes me feel like I accomplished something. Thanks for letting me know.

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