Back in 2013 I discovered a group that really was exactly what I needed as a writer. I had published my first gardening book the year before and had been blogging for several years but at that point I wasn't really sure what to work on next. I just knew I had to keep writing and I was unsure how to keep the momentum going. The group that proved to be a major boost in keeping that momentum going is Shut Up & Write.
Shut Up & Write is a writer community with over 16,000 members in 20 cities and four countries. I don't remember how I found it, but somehow I came across a listing for a Shut Up & Write meeting in my town at a cafe. I RSVP'd on Meetup.com and just showed up. It was a small group, maybe four or five of us that day. But there were two things about it that really clicked for me right from the start. First, I loved hearing the variety of things that people were working on because Shut Up & Write is open to anyone who is writing anything without regard to subject or publication status. And second, perhaps most importantly, the emphasis is really just about getting the writing done. Nobody reads your work or checks to see if you've met a word count target. It's all about showing up to commit some time to writing. And let's face it, that's how books (and poems and screenplays and theses, etc.) get done.
I kept going to that Shut Up & Write meeting and when a new organizer was needed to take over the session, I happily took it on. I'm still the Event Organizer for that group, which now meets for three hours every Tuesday afternoon. I attend other Shut Up & Write sessions on occasion as well and am the Co-City Manager for the SF Bay Area chapter. These sessions energize my writing and make it a less isolating endeavor.
Since I've been going to Shut Up & Write, I've written and published another gardening book, written and self-published a short gardening ebook, and written and begun shopping around a proposal for a nonfiction book I am dying to write. In addition, I've continued to work on a novel. I honestly doubt I would have gotten that much writing done without Shut Up & Write. In addition, I've made many new writing friends and learned so much from them.
If Shut Up & Write sounds like something you'd like to check out, go to shutupwrite.com to find out if there's a group meeting near you. If there isn't and you'd like to start one, fill out the contact form on the website and the folks at HQ will help you get started.