A few years ago, I met with four friends every Sunday afternoon from 2-4 p.m. at a local Panera Bread. We dubbed ourselves The Mastermind Group. Our aim was to help one another grow personally and professionally through goal setting and accountability. We each went around the table sharing our weekly highs and lows, went over our goals for the week, and discussed chapters from a book we were collectively reading. During that time, we also assigned weekly partners for accountability calls where we discussed our daily goals and our progress towards our weekly goals. This lasted about six months and by the time our group finally dissolved, almost all of us had hit our goals—one of us went on to become a top-selling real estate agent, one went on to work for Tony Robbins, I became a magazine editor and the other two hit their goals at later times.
This was a great time for me and it taught me a valuable lesson: Progress lies in accountability.
[tweetthis]Progress lies in accountability.[/tweetthis]
As I struggled with writing my book last year, I decided to go back to the concept of a motivation by association. I knew that if I had any chance of reaching my writing goals then and in the future, I needed to surround myself with other writers. So last November during National Novel Writing Month, I asked if anyone was doing a write-in in my city on the NaNoWriMo Facebook group page. I had one taker. He and I began writing together at a local coffee shop. We enjoyed the experience so much that we agreed to continue meeting and we have since added two others. Now we have a group of writers who meet each Sunday to write for two hours. I look forward to this time because I know that those two hours set the tone for my whole week of writing.
Starting Your Writing Group
If you’re not in a writing group, I encourage you to join one or create one. All you need are two people to begin. Here are a few tips for getting writer’s group off the ground:
Find a good location. Try to find a location near you that can accommodate a small group of writers that won’t mind you spending a couple of hours there. We chose a coffee shop because of the atmosphere, but you can choose your local library, a co-working space, or a cafe. You’ll want to also make sure that the place you choose is somewhere that you can consistently meet. Frequent location changes can sabotage your efforts and cause the group to lose its momentum.
Invite Fellow Writers. Invite a few writers that you know would be interested letting them know the meeting time and location. Choose people that you know will be consistent and that take their craft seriously. I can’t emphasize enough how important consistency is. Everyone won’t show up all of the time, but you’ll want people who are committed to the concept of writing together. When done right, it’s powerful. When done wrong, it’s deflating. If you don’t know many writers, or any writers, then consider creating a MeetUp. MeetUp is a social network comprised of people looking to participate in activities. It’s easy to set up and facilitate and MeetUp alerts people in your area who may be interested in joining your group’s write-ins.
Start writing. Get the writers together and write. It doesn’t have to have any other structure or rules. Writers come and writers write.
Writing with others is an exciting way to jumpstart your work. If you’re feeling stuck, need motivation, or simply want to be in the company of other writer’s, consider joining a group or starting your own.