Around the time that I started StoryADay (back when I had 97 people on the mailing list) I stumbled into a real-world writers’ group. Getting to know these people’s faces, voices AND their writing made me feel so much more connected to them. In fact, I’m good friends with several of that group today, and I still turn up as often as possible.
And the great thing about writers’ groups? They are dominated by introverts! We get together, we talk about writing and then we all scuttle back to our respective corners to recharge. No one ever suggests going for drinks after the meeting, or getting together on the weekend. It’s perfect!
Online groups certainly make for an even safer way for introverts to dip their toes into the community pool. But online groups can be a little impersonal and that’s not always great for accountability and productivity.
Recently I’ve discovered something that has taken me from meeting my commitments to my online groups about 50% of the time, to meeting my commitments every day.
That thing? Daily connections with specific people, and using video to replicate the experience of a real-world local writers’ group.
Putting In Into Practice At StoryADay
In May 2018 I launched the Superstars group at StoryADay, with a private forum for a smaller, more committed number of writers, and weekly video hangouts.
When I launched it the first time, I only offered access to people who had been with me for a while. I was amazed at how much closer I felt to people whose names I’ve known for YEARS, simply because we were getting together daily in a small group and once a week on video. I felt 100% more accountable to them in our daily check ins at the website, not just because it was a smaller group, but because I could picture their raised eyebrow if I posted an excuse for not writing, or their chuckle of delight when I posted “Yes!”
This time around I want to extend that connection to as much of the StoryADay community as possible.
I know the idea of showing up on video is hideous to some of you (and truth be told, some of the first Superstars group did not turn their cameras on for the first couple of weeks!) but getting out of our comfort zones is one of the most powerful things we can do for our writing.
Writing can be scary.
Daring to imagine a life not our own. Daring to write an imperfect first draft. Daring to revise. Daring to show it to someone else, or even submit to a publication.
These are terrifying things.
But they are so much easier to do, when you have a community of friends who are going through it with you. I’ve lost track of the times someone has told me ‘you inspired me to…’. Not because I’m particularly awesome and inspirational, but because I’m a firm believer in sharing. I’m a believer in community.
Here’s what one of my Superstars had to say, this spring.
“I do feel the focus and the community and the serious attitude I took to the month especially being associated with the Superstars made the distinction.
So, again, from the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU! Keep doing what you do! It works!”
In Part 4 of this series, I’ll tell you a little more about what the Superstars community looks like and how you can get involved this September.
In the meantime, let me know what questions you have about StoryADay September or the Superstars program, in the comments.
P. S. You can the earlier parts of this series here: | Part 1 | Part 2 |
8 thoughts on “Community for Introverts”
Julie uses a very light hand in guiding the superstars community, so you may miss the importance of her influence on the Superstars. Not only are the members each and all fun, kind participants, Julie makes it easy to keep this community positive and supportive. You would have to search far and wide to find a more welcoming, fertile ground from which to grow your writing habit 🙂
Thanks so much, Julie. I’m definitely in for this!
Such a fabulous group, Julie! I feel I could learn from this group, but not sure if I would qualify to join in. So far, I have written only for my eyes, but am considering sharing for feedback, support and encouragement. Same as Daryl, I’d be very happy to be a minor contributor.
Thanks! And you don’t ever have to share anything you write. During the challenge it can be hard for people to find time to read each other’s work. But the support and feedback is definitely great.
I’m not sure how this works. Do I write in response to prompts, or do I come up with my own story ideas, or some combination thereof?
I am intrigued to be part of a group, but I’m not sure that my schedule fits in with getting in front of a camera and talking with other people. I write in the wee hours of the morning. My husband requires a good deal of care during the day, so the morning hours are my free time.
I would like to be a SuperStar, but I’ll be happy to be a very minor star in a community of writers.
You can write to the prompts if they help you or you can write your own thing, and just stop into the comments any time and let us know how your day went.
The video hangouts are only once a week, in the evenings, and also optional, no pressure!
Glad to have you here.
I really enjoyed the Superstars group this past May, because I’ve never really had a writing community before, so it was a really great experience having one. Everyone is so enthusiastic about their work and writing, and we all cheer each other on. It’s also a very safe place to share your stories.
I love being part of Story-a-Day! It sparks so many ideas and I get so much writing done! And it’s fun. Being part of the Superstars group was another level. It’s a supportive community, and since so many of us are introverts, it’s great how we’re taking part in a group and most us don’t usually take part in groups. I was in a Peace Corps volunteer way back when, and maybe you know that slogan for it–the toughest job you’ll ever love. In a way, that’s this writing challenge. Writing a story a day is not easy. And yet it is fun. I thought about doing my own story a day month one time. I mean, a person could just pick any convenient month and challenge themselves to write every day. Some people may very well do that already, amazing people. But it isn’t the same without the community. It lacks the spark. It isn’t as fun. And in my busy world, I need more fun and more friends who like to write. So, I can’t imagine ever not doing Story-a-Day.
This comment went on way longer than I meant it to. I guess I’m getting ready for September! Ha!