Sometimes the Universe really does answer your prayers. Just the other day I was reflecting on my writing practice and I came to the realization that what has been holding me back, lately, is a lack of direction. What time I do have for writing has been really unproductive of late because I don’t have a clear vision of where I want to go with a project. Ore even a definitive project to focus on, for that matter. I’ve fallen back into dabbling- a little bit of research here, a prompt there. I put my butt in the chair semi-regularly, but I’m not really making any headway with anything.
Enter Donna Barker and her Writer on Fire sessions at the Creative Academy. I joined the Academy in late January hoping to find focus and regular community. I’ve felt disconnected since I’ve gone back to work because I can no longer attend many of the events that I made time for in the past. I’ve been trying to make it to the live office hours the Academy offers rather than tuning in to the recordings so that I can regain some of the face to face time I’ve been lacking. Donna’s sessions are a perfect fit for me because they fall on Thursdays, the one weekday I (try) to dedicate to writing. This morning, I was just happy to have logged on, but what happened in the session was truly a gift from the Universe. Donna invited the writers present to become part of a Mastermind Group.
According to this great article, What is a Mastermind Group, by The Success Alliance, mastermind groups have been around since the 1920’s and are based on the concept of the “master mind alliance” introduced by Napolean Hill in his book The Law of Success. Even before that, luminaries such as Benjamin Franklin belonged to similar organizations- places where people were encouraged to gather in a structured environment to strive for success together. In today’s groups, each member sets a goal and then creates a plan to achieve it. The other group members are there to brainstorm solutions to any problems you encounter and then to applaud your success. Accountability structures decided upon by the group keep members focused and on track. Together, you and your mastermind partners give each other feedback, brainstorm new possibilities and move members to new heights. As the article states, “Mastermind group members act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues”.
You Had Me At Accountability
I’d never heard of mastermind groups before Donna introduced them today, but they are common in the business world. When I read up on them after the meeting I realized they are just what I’ve been looking for. A place to come for encouragement, but also collaboration and brainstorming. Most notably, mastermind groups have built in accountability. I may be willing to let myself down (all the time), but I am loathe to let others down. I’ve used this method before, when I started running and during my teacher training. and it was successful for me. Knowing that others are counting on me to reach my goals keeps me honest and on task. I have every reason to believe that they will work with my writing as well.
Yes, Yes, Yes!
With something to work towards- a carrot to strive for- and the built in social pressure of needing to satisfy the conditions of the group- I feel a new sense of purpose and excitement. My first goal is to get back into my story, read what I have written so far to reacquaint myself with my characters and plot and jot down a plan as to where I want to go with it. If I’m successful in that, my second goal can be to outline the second half of my novel. With any luck, I could have a finished first draft by the time the summer rolls around. Thank you, Universe! This was just the kick in the pants I needed.
If you are interested in Donna Barker’s sessions, or are searching for a community and great writing resources, I encourage you to check out The Creative Academy at https://ccscreativeacademy.com/.