Wednesday, November 28, 2018

SUAW!? What on earth is that?

So what is "Shut Up and Write!" I hear you ask.

As a writer/artist/creator, it's pretty straightforward. You show up, we chat for a bit then follow up with an hour of solid writing/drawing/creating. We don't critique each other's work or even really discuss it. It's more of a chance to be social while we're (usually antisocially) creative. I also find that the mental preparation to come to SUAW! and the intention to have a specific output at the end of the session doesn't give writer's block space to take up residence.

SUAW! is totally not a review or critique group. We socialize for a bit and then we


(or design or make movies or draw or in some way create) The only structure you'll get is your own goal to knock out 500 words or two pages or a blog post or whatever benchmark you've set for yourself while you're here.

It's a little more involved if you decide you want to keep the SUAW! fires going as an event organizer. Over the last three years I've learned that the group needs more than just a date on the calendar, it needs an anchor at the meeting.

Here's what I use for the times that I organize / anchor / host / moderate / timekeep (pick your verb of choice) the group:
  • I schedule an event on FB a few days before. Funnily enough, there have been a few times that I've scheduled a day-of event and had a good turnout. But in general, it helps my personal writing process to have this a few days out on the calendar. 
  • I try to keep all discussion and commentary on the SUAW! group page. SUAW! is bigger than me, it's powerful to know that we're all experiencing the same kinds of things. Keeping the discussions on the group page also helps because I don't check FB often, if everything is on the group page the chances are higher that someone other than myself can respond to an inquiry.  
  • The day of the event I check the RSVPs on the FB event to have an idea of how many people are coming. 
  • I try to arrive at the location 5-10 minutes early and stake out a good spot for the group for the initial discussion. After the discussion everyone tends to move around to the position/space that feels best for them. 
  • When the discussion begins, I try to welcome everyone by name. I depend on the group attendees to help me with my writing, it may be the first time we've met, but even before they've arrived they have already helped me get to a better position to meet my writing goal. 
  • Set intention for the session, beginning with my own. <----Other than the actual SUAW! this is the most powerful part of the entire activity. Dreams turn into action when said out loud in front of other people. 
  • Chat for a little while, try to get everyone to share something. I try not to press too much if someone doesn't want to talk; one of the things that makes this group so powerful is that introverts can be social without having to open up a lot or say much. 
  • I remind everyone that we're here to focus, I ask for limited phone calls, alarms, etc, beginning with turning my own ringer off. 
  • Find the anchor/moderator/timekeeper for the next session (maybe you?)
  • Start at the agreed on time. I set my phone timer so that I don't get carried away with the conversation. This may be earlier if a small group, later if a larger group or if everything is running late. 
Here's our SUAW! group. I hope you can join us sometime, and I really hope you can host a group sometime. You're helping me write :)

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