A writer friend came back from a fellowship retreat with a great idea: Study Hall for writers. The idea is that writers regularly gather at a set time in a certain place and write together with concentration and without conversation, then melt back in to their “other” lives (Well, we all know that writers are always “on duty,” right?) until the next date. This way, it takes the minimum amount of time socializing, but gives a sense of accountability and comfort in numbers: Your writer friends expect you to show up and to write.
I tried this for a while with some of my friends and found it helpful in forcing me to put my butt in the seat and get it done. But then people started to drift away as their projects completed, waned, or stalled. I had some problems myself in showing up as I embarked on legs of my book tour. How to sustain it?
Of course, I always like to see how a thing can be improved. What is needed, I thought, is also a way to jump-start or solve problems so that people don’t avoid the session when they haven’t been successful in moving their problems forward. But that’s a workshop, and I do those things already. Maybe we’ll add a regular Google Hangout to talk about writing problems. And, also, I need a bigger pool of Study Hall friends, so if some complete a project and take a break, the rest of us still have writer friends to spare.
So here’s my solution: Every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. EST, I’ll check in here with you and tell you what I’m working on. You can join me by posting your presence and task for the day in the comment line. And you can tell us how it went, after the time period ends. We won’t make this an online workshop by answering specific manuscript questions, but feel free to post resources that you find helpful.
Here’s the thing for which I’ll rely on you, the reader: I’ll show up here every Monday morning that I can, and you do the same. Did I tell you that one of the original Study Hall rules was that if you showed, you showed, and if you didn’t, no one went searching for you? That way the focus remained on writing, not on who is present. (You know how we women tend to chitter about who’s missing, and why that might be, and what we should do about it, and otherwise “mother” each other––none of that expected or required! This is a big girl’s group, and we’re all in charge of ourselves, including mothering our own work.) I’ll try to post in advance when I can’t get here, but I’ll post the study hall dates ahead of time. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll get a notice when the Study Hall post arrives, to remind you to get to work. If I’m present and able, I’ll post what I’m working on in the comments section, and I invite you to do the same. (See the comment line below to see a sample.)
If you don’t subscribe, you won’t get a notice, but you can check in here every Monday for an encouraging word. Because I like to add a little extra when I can.
A reminder: I don’t allow any racist, sexist, ableist , homophobic, or otherwise hateful content here, so your comment won’t be approved if you descend in to such madness. Keep it clean, keep it kind, be a good example.
Want to try? Let’s get to work!
This is me using my Dragon Dictation on a day when writing by hand or even typing is too painful. Gotta keep moving!