Many of you have had the experience of attending a Shut Up & Write event during the course of your membership in our worldwide community. Having a dedicated block of time set aside each week to devote to your own writing can add up to an amazing amount of progress, which so many of our members can attest to firsthand. As an Organizer myself, I can affirm that this benefit can be compounded when you graduate to organizing a regular writing event yourself! Here are several ways that being a Shut Up & Write Organizer makes you a better writer:
1. You get a double dose of accountability.
As our founder and CEO Rennie Saunders says, you effectively trick yourself into a writing habit when you take on a commitment to host these sessions. By putting yourself in a position to do something good for others, you create a habit which has the same benefits for you.
Your regular members may be tempted to take a day off here and there, but as the Organizer, you’re expected to be the rock of the group by showing up week after week at the designated place and time. It’s a lot harder to fall through on your responsibility as a host when you know there are others counting on you to be there as promised. Jeremy Thweatt, our Content & Outreach Manager, says, “Even when I’m not feeling inspired and not feeling the drive to hit my head against that writer’s block, I know I’m going to show up for my other writers. Once I show up, the excitement is there, because all of a sudden, I’m here, I’m in that environment.”
In this way, your writing practice becomes even more consistent over time.
2. You get to be inspired by other genres.
Shut Up & Write intentionally encourages events where any kind of writer working in any genre can have the space to write together. Exposure to these different genres and styles can be quite inspiring! As Rennie says, “It’s not your usual intellectual bubble.”
Due to the increased contact that Organizers are able to have with members writing across genres, you have that much more opportunity to learn from diverse literary styles that may be different from your own.
Even if your group consists of writers working in similar genres, you will most likely encounter a variety of techniques that writers use to make progress, aspects of which may translate beautifully to your own writing process. One of the writers who attends my own Shut Up & Write sessions likes to use bulleted lists to write herself out of a rut, and I’ve happily adopted this specific tactic when I stumble into bouts of writing block myself.
3. Practicing empathy during writing sessions can translate into impactful writing.
Organizers take on the task of maintaining group harmony during their weekly sessions, which can require a range of problem-solving skills, such as smoothing out logistical or technical issues, inspiring writers to share more about their work, and making space for constructive interpersonal dynamics. At its root, maintaining a positive group atmosphere requires empathy, a skill which also plays an important role in writing effectively.
When writing fiction, nothing creates an immersive experience as well as empathetically depicting characters. With non-fiction, constructing a compelling narrative also requires an empathetic understanding of what your reader will find persuasive.
Studies have shown that empathy can be viewed as a learnable skill, and as with all skills, the more you practice, the better you get!
If we’ve convinced you to try organizing your own Shut Up & Writing event, you can learn more about the process as well as sign up here: shutupwrite.com/organizers