About Shut Up & Write
What is Shut Up & Write?
Shut Up & Write is an international writing community that provides the tools and support for writers to get their writing done. We host free, weekly in-person events for writers all over the world.
How long has Shut Up & Write existed? How did it get started?
The first Shut Up & Write event was started in 2007 in San Francisco, CA by Rennie Saunders, a science fiction writer who liked the idea of using group support and accountability to help him stay motivated. Since then it has grown to dozens of countries, and we have hosted tens of thousands of events all over the world!
What does a standard Shut Up & Write event look like?
Writers of all genres meet up somewhere like a coffee shop and the event starts by everyone introducing themselves and saying what they will be working on. Then the host sets a timer for an hour and tells everyone to “Shut Up & Write!” Everyone then writes for an hour. At the end, everyone goes around one more time and briefly says what they accomplished and how they feel about it. And that’s it! There is an option to socialize at the end, which can be a great way to meet other writers and discuss the craft. But mainly, our events are about making a regular commitment to your own writing and enjoying the support of others doing the same.
I’m interested in a specific type of writing (memoir, non-fiction, academic, etc) – is Shut Up & Write a good fit for me?
Yes, absolutely. Shut Up & Write helps anyone with a writing project, regardless of what they are working on. We have writers who are working on screenplays, novels, short stories, poems, school essays, memoirs, blog posts, dissertations… you get the idea. Our writers come to our events to focus on their writing during a one-hour or marathon session with no pressure, only encouragement and support.
I’m a complete beginner and don’t even have a current writing project. Is it still okay if I attend?
Yes! Shut Up & Write is for writers of all genres, skill levels, and stages of the writing process. Because most of our events are spent quietly writing, no one will judge or critique you. It’s a great place to write, edit, or simply outline some ideas for something you’ve always been wanting to write about.
I’m interested in learning about X (writing a certain genre, publishing, editing, etc.). Will Shut Up & Write teach me?
Our main focus at Shut Up & Write is providing a space for writers to show up for their writing. That being said, our goal is to help with every kind of writing, as well as every phase of the writing process, including editing, publishing and more. We are currently working on a variety of resources and tools for writers. Please make sure you are signed up for our Newsletter for updates!
Is there a fee for joining Shut Up & Write?
No, not at all.
Attending Shut Up & Write Events
What do I bring to an event?
Whatever you prefer to write with, be it your laptop, iPad, or even pen/paper. Sometimes the locations are noisy, so we recommend bringing headphones to keep you from getting distracted. Power outlets and WiFi are also not always available, so please plan accordingly.
Do people ever read their work afterwards?
We are a productivity-focused group; as our name implies, our writers get together to simply “Shut Up & Write.” While we often socialize afterwards, there is no formal review/critique process. The events are intended to be encouraging for writers, as there’s no pressure to have perfect work by the end of the event.
How do I view events near me?
If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to join your closest Meetup chapter. Take a look at our map here to find one near you: https://www.meetup.com/pro/shut-up-write/
Once you’ve joined a chapter, click on the Events page to see our upcoming calendar.
There aren’t any events near me. Will someone please start one?
We are an organization fueled by volunteers. That means the best way to get an event near you is to start your own! It’s a great way to commit to your writing and potentially meet other writers in your area. It only takes about an hour a week and it’s a ton of fun.
What do you think — are you interested? We’d love to guide you through setting up your own event near you.
You can learn more at www.shutupwrite.com/organizers
Shut Up & Write Website/User Registration
I’m registered for my local Shut Up & Write chapter on Meetup.com. Am I also registered for your site?
No, you will need to create a separate account for the Shut Up & Write website. Meetup is just what helps us schedule in person events. Our website has lots of cool features and content like writing challenges that you will need a Shut Up & Write account to sign up for.
My username and password isn’t working / I can’t log in to my account.
Sorry to hear that! First make sure that you clicked the link in the email confirmation email. If you have confirmed your account and but still cannot access your account, try resetting your password here. If you are still unable to access your account, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help resolve the issue.
What is a Writing Challenge?
A Writing Challenge is a way to stay inspired. Every month Shut Up & Write curates a week’s worth of prompts all focuses on a unified theme. If you register for a Writing Challenge you will receive daily reminders during the week of the challenge. Woven into your experience you will be given access to the members-only forum where you can post your daily exercises and connect with other members who are also doing the challenge alongside you.
I’m registered on the Shut Up & Write website, but I didn’t get any emails about the new writing challenge. Am I signed up?
If you checked the box to be enrolled in this month’s challenge during your registrations, yes. If not, go here to sign up.
I did a writing challenge last month, but I’m not getting any emails this month. Why not?
Since our challenges span multiple genres and styles of writing, we are not able to assume that those who have signed up for a previous challenge will necessarily be interested in an upcoming one. In order to allow our writers to have flexibility and choice with regards to their participation in monthly challenges, we require that you actively sign up for each month’s challenge. You can learn about and sign up for any upcoming monthly Challenge here.
How can I reset my password?
If you have already signed up for an account and need to reset your password, you can do so using this link.
Writing Challenge Forums
How do I respond to a writing prompt?
You can post your writing by clicking the “Reply to Post” button on each day’s prompt.
How do I comment on someone’s post?
Just click “Reply to Post” to comment on someone’s post. You can then write your response, and click the blue Reply button on the bottom left to post it.
How do I quote someone in my comment?
Start by highlighting the parts of their response that you would like to quote in your own response. Then, click the “Quote” button, which will start a new comment, beneath which you can write more before clicking the blue Reply button on the bottom left.
How do I find comments on my post?
Click the gray Replies button on the lower left of your post in order to expand all the comments that have been made on your post. You can then click the arrow on a particular comment in order to “jump” down to it and reply.
How do notifications work?
You will receive a notification when someone “likes” your post using the heart icon, replies to it directly, or mentions your username in a comment to draw your attention to their post. You will see a blue icon appear on your profile icon, and you can click it to expand the list of your notifications. You can click further onto each list item in order to be taken to the content behind that notification.
What are the functions of the “↓” and “^” arrows next to a post?
You can click the “↓” arrow on a reply that someone has left to your post in order to go “down” to it and be able to reply to it directly.
You can click the “^” arrow in order to go “up” to the beginning of a post, which is particularly helpful when there is a long post you’d like to jump to the start of without having to scroll all the way up.
Why can’t I add images?
Our challenges are designed to help you practice your writing. We think that keeping the focus on verbal expression is the best way that our challenges can serve you in your writing practice, and as a result, we do not allow the uploading of images on our forums at this time.
Using Meetup/RSVPing for In-Person Events
How do I join a Shut Up & Write chapter?
First, please figure out which chapter you want to join by finding your closest one: https://www.meetup.com/pro/shut-up-write/
From the chapter page, click the red button that says “Join this group”.
Can I join more than one chapter?
Yes! Many of our members do this, particularly when there are two chapters close together, or if there is a place away from home they commonly travel to. This way you can see the events calendar for more than one location.
How do I RSVP for an event?
Upcoming events on a chapter will be shown on that chapter’s homepage, or when you click to go to the “Events” section. Every upcoming event should have a blue “Attend” button to RSVP. If you open up the page for a specific event, there will be a question in the top right that says “Are you going?”. Clicking the blue “Yes” button will also RSVP you for the event.
What if I have to miss an event I RSVPed for?
We’ll miss you! But that’s ok. If you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to make it, please try to change your RSVP to “No” before the event. We’ll hope to see you next week!
Do I need to RSVP to events or can I just show up?
Yes, please, we still ask that you RSVP to every event you plan to attend. The reason is that our Organizers often reserve seats for their events based on the number of people who RSVP. One of the best parts of these meetups is getting to know our fellow writers, and having adequate space to do so is essential.
I’m getting too many emails from Meetup – what do I do?
Sorry about that! Please adjust your settings so you can reduce the amount of email you’re receiving. Go to your profile image in the upper right, then click Settings in the dropdown menu. There will be a section on Email Updates where you can turn off certain kinds of emails or all of them at once.
How do I remove myself from a Meetup group?
We’re sorry to see you go and we’d love to know why you’re leaving us. That being said, if you go to our Meetup page, then select your picture, below your profile you’ll see a button to “Leave this Group.” Click that and it should be instantaneous.
I’m considering becoming an Organizer…
What does being an Organizer entail?
Hosting a Shut Up & Write event is very straightforward. We guide you through every step of the setup, and Meetup will handle your RSVPs for you. You just need to pick a location like a local cafe, and a time each week when you could host a meeting. The meetups start by everyone introducing themselves and saying what they’ll be working on. Then you’ll simply set a timer for an hour and tell everyone to “Shut Up & Write.” When the timer is done, go around quickly and everyone says what they got done and how they feel about it. Sometimes people stick around afterward to talk about writing but this is completely optional. That’s it! The format is extremely simple for a reason… it works!
What are the benefits of being an Organizer?
First and foremost, it’s a great way to commit to your writing. It’s also a good way to connect with other writers in your area, not to mention it’s a lot of fun! Organizers make a real difference in their community, and we are here to support you every step of the way.
What is the time commitment for being an Organizer?
It takes less than two hours a week to plan and host a regular Shut Up & Write event.
Does it cost anything to become an Organizer?
There are no costs or fees. We cover all promotion and setup costs.
Is there a time of day or day of the week that is the best for hosting my event?
Whatever time or day you pick, you will find a group of writers that would love to join you. Evenings or weekends can be a little better for the 9-5 crowd, but the most important thing is that it’s a good time for you to commit to your own writing.
What kinds of event spaces do you recommend?
Our most popular event space is in coffee shops, partially because that’s where our first Shut Up & Write events were held. Bookstores, libraries, delis, and restaurants are also common. Whatever you choose, it should be easily accessible and open to the public, and is ideally not too noisy, with plenty of tables and access to parking. Comfortable seats, a few outlets, and reasonable drink/snacks are also recommended. Wifi is also optional; please be sure to note it in your description for your event.
Do I have to host my event every week or can I do a different schedule?
We definitely recommend that you host an event every week because it really helps you and other writers strengthen the crucial habit of making time to write. That being said, if you need to start out every other week, we can accommodate you.
Can I have a co-host for my event?
Yes! We actually recommend this. It can be a great way to keep the consistency even when one person has to miss a week, and it’s fun to have that extra support! Feel free to mention at the beginning of your event that you are looking for a co-host, and if you find someone, cc: them in an email to email@example.com to introduce them to us. We will guide them through the rest of the Organizer setup process.
Can I host an event virtually?
Yes! Please refer to this guide to learn more about the process of hosting online Shut Up & Write sessions.
Can I host a Shut Up & Write event only for a specific kind of writers?
One of the best things about Shut Up & Write events are that they allow writers of all genres, skill levels, and stages of the writing process to support each other (not to mention ages, genders, etc.) We love that you want to specifically support a certain kind of writer, but it is our belief that being as inclusive as possible is actually the best way to be supportive.
I’m interested in hosting an event with a different format (marathon sessions, critique sessions, etc.). How do I go about doing this?
That’s great! We definitely recommend that, if you haven’t already, you start by hosting events with our standard Shut Up & Write format. This is our tried-and-true method we have used for tens of thousands of events all over the world, and it is important that every one of our Organizers become comfortable with it. Beyond that, please reach out to us and ask for guidance on our other event formats.
I have another question that isn’t listed here…
We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org