Mastermind group". Mastermind Groups can bring together people with any shared interest to support / challenge / provide feedback and expertise for one another. This particular group focuses on writing - the invitation was for "those who love to write, want to write or want to hang with people with the passion for writing." I like and respect the person who invited me and I had a flexible calendar this morning, so I decided to go. It was actually pretty interesting. There was a guest speaker from Borderline Publishing coming to share information with the group. From that I learned about some tips and tools I was previously unfamiliar with. Beyond that, I got to meet some interesting people and sparked some good reflection for me about my own process of writing and what it means to me.
I do not write fiction. Never have. But I do love to write. Publishing has not been my primary priority. I've dabbled in it a bit. I've had three articles published. First came The Tapestry Called Family in Ensign Magazine back in June of 1990. Next I had a piece called "Giving Sorrow Voice" published in Thantology, a journal about the academic study of death and dying. (I was teaching a course on Death and Dying at a community college in Michigan at the time.) Most recently (June 2011) I had article appear Slate, a publication of the Idaho School Boards Association. (My name appears as second author on that one since the politics of universities put bosses names first - but I know who wrote what.) That one summarizes a literature review on the link between mental illness and suicide.
Between those few rare appearances in print, I've written a lot of other work for other purposes. In a single day this past week I wrote a section of a grant application, a heart felt email, a lecture for my sociology class, and an outline for a Sunday School lesson. Each one called on different elements of my mind and spirit, tapping in to my intellect and creativity in a way that just talking about things never does. It's interesting that writing is given less legitimacy by most if it is not for pay and especially if it's not for a wide audience.
Yet those who write with passion (whether or not it involves any great skill) know something about the magic of the process and how it satisfies a part of us like nothing else ever can or will.
I have a work obligation on the day this Mastermind group will be meeting in February, so I'll miss that meeting. But I do plan to go back when I can. It felt good to be around the energy of men and women who put deliberate effort in to finding their voice, weaving their truths, even when it is clothed in the guise of created characters and plot lines. I also appreciated being in a group of folks who are stretching themselves to intentionally develop their talents, holding each other accountable to keep at it rather than falling into the pit of silently hoping for someday.
Writing matters. I don't have to have the ability or the dedication of a Pulitzer prize winner to acknowledge that. I don't know where this new association will take me, but it's a door I'm glad to have found and made the effort to walk through.