Much like Bridget, I find myself thriving the most when working with others towards a common goal. For a year or two I really struggled when trying to write my novel. I’d start and stop, get a fit of inspiration, forget about it for a while, over think ideas, under think others – it was a slow process, and a mess. There’s a lot of debate in the literary world about the value of an MFA, but for me, it was definitely worth the student loans to find myself part of a strong community of writers. It was in school that I found a like minded peer group, and now, two years after graduating, we still get together weekly to talk about our writing, our process, and give critiques.
They not only give me a deadline, I need to have something to submit every two weeks or so, but they give such helpful feedback about details that I might have overlooked, plots that can be expanded, sections that don’t make sense on the page (even though I know what I meant!), and, just as importantly, are strong cheerleaders when they read something that really works.
At one of these weekly meetings recently one of the peer members was concerned about a meeting he had coming up with a filmmaker about a script my friend was working on. My friend was really nervous, he knew there were problems with the script, and thought for sure that the meeting was going to be terrible, with the filmmaker berating him and only offering a litany of complaints. It turns out, that the filmmaker had some excellent ideas for strengthening the script, and really wanted to work together to make something great; my friend left the meeting energized and excited for another draft. “Collaboration Works!” he enthused last week.
I’m so excited to be starting on this journey with people from around the world, hopefully we’ll be able to energize each other with continued thoughts and discussions.