Writing Group

My Writing Group: Tammy, Tam, Mary Helen, me, & Ruth (If we add another member, do you think her name should be Mary Helen? 😉

Today after school I get to meet with my writing group. We’ve been meeting for about six months now and it has been a very good thing. It started when I emailed Mary Helen and Ruth asking if they would be interested in being part of a writing group. Ruth co-wrote Building Bridges from Early to Intermediate Literacy (Corwin, 2007), so I figured she may be interested in writing more. Mary Helen knows books like nobody’s business and is superb at cracking open the craft. She also listened to my raw thinking as we were writing Day by Day. There’s a book in her. Then we asked Tammy because she’s written several children’s books and poems but they are sitting in folders, just waiting for an audience. Like the others, she said yes. We met a couple of times and then we invited Tam. Tam and I learned about writing workshop alongside of each other. We taught next door to each other for my first four years. We’ve been sharing our writing with each other for years. Tam retired last May. One of her hopes for retirement is to write more.

I can’t believe how close we’ve become in a handful of meetings.  Writing does that to people, you know? We share stories, laugh until our bellies hurt, read each other’s writing, encourage, nudge, and check-in. It is one of those things that gives me energy. Lots of energy.

It makes me think about the opportunities we can offer our students. I think there is power in meeting with the same people over time.

  • It takes a lot of trust to share your writing with others. When you get to know people over time, you are more likely to share risky writing. When we take risks as writers, the good stuff starts happening.
  • When people get to know our writing, they offer incredible insights. Ruth has been offering feedback on my latest WIP. The kinds of questions she asks leads my thinking and makes my story much stronger.
  • Regular meetings are necessary. We live more than 50 miles apart, so we meet once a month. However, communication is happening consistently between meetings. We’re sending drafts to one another. We’re asking, “Have you been writing?” Earlier this week I called Ruth and said, “Can I tell you a little about Matt?” I felt a little strange to call and have a conversation about a fictional character, but I knew she would understand. Sometimes the characters talk to her too. 😉
  • Other people believe in your projects and want you to succeed.

I’ve never established year long writing groups, however if I had my own classroom, I think I would try it out. I’m finding my writing group inspires, empowers, and pushes me as a writer. These are things I want students to experience too. What about you, are you a part of a writing group?

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