Here’s how professional writers go faster, deeper, and rethink everything.
Where do the best writers go to learn from each other and discover truths and techniques which keep dialing up their writing productivity, quality, and reputation? That’s where I want to go and immerse in more productive, more prolific writing.
Before there was the internet and even before there was radio or television, there were writers who gathered daily in cafes. Each creative group had their cafes. Writers, painters, musicians, inventors, and other creators—each sought out and participated consistently in the cafe where their community helped each other with their projects.
What is the 2021 version of that café for me in the advanced stages of my writing career? It’s a mission-critical question and your earnings depend on how well you answer that question. Your craft, your career, and your cafes constantly evolve, so knowing where and how to find the community where you belong is a quest that recurs for as long as you write.
Because that is a question without end (Where do the best writers go…) my “writer community radar” runs in the background of my brain all waking and sleeping hours. I don’t remember how the Foster Community hit my radar, but I remember the day. It was November 6, 2021, and I gave it my normal 20-minute limit to investigate and experience. You get one chance to wow me and skimming might miss the best part.
Checking out a new community invitation takes time for quality consideration but not more than 20 minutes. I’m looking for a fair-trade relationship. I’ll support your writing projects if you support mine. More than 20 minutes to “get” you and find the connections usually means this relationship is not going to work because they already want more from me than they are providing back in value.
Be careful what you wish for. Be ready when you get your wish. Within the first 5 minutes of responding to the email that someone at Foster sent to me, I was hooked with the homepage and then went right to “Hell, yes!” when I read the manifesto.
There was an application and I love that part. It means they have boundaries and criteria because there is a purpose and a culture to their community that they are honoring.
Within hours of applying, I get the email saying “Congratulations you are in” and was immediately invited into something called Season One. It’s a 90-day commitment of time, writing consistently, and showing up in the writing and editing space in Google Docs to post your drafts and help others with their drafts.
This community was the café I was looking for. I’ve investigated many communities in the past three years and they usually ask for money, want me to buy their course or promote their stuff, or ask me to volunteer time on some committee, advisory board, or work team.
The Season One experience had what professionals seek. Essentially, make it challenging and make it something I want to learn. In the community I’ve developed for the past few years, for Gifted Professionals and Communicators, that’s the core of what matters. They do not have problems they want me to solve and they don’t want self-improvement exercises. They want only challenging and specific to what they want to learn next—and prefer to learn it from you.
If not for the structure of Season One, I would probably not stay in this community. Co-Founders Dan and Stew send individually-addressed emails and treat everyone in the 90-day exercise like they remember their names and track their progress.
If left to wander and create all of my own value, I would drop out. Why have a group if there is no group work and no group conversations? I was glad to see this was not Facebook or another kind of online information push out, where nobody checks your work.
Would you sign up for a physical fitness challenge with a group of 50 or so, pretty much like you, and then think showing up every other week would get results desired? Hardly! The Season One path was bumpy and there were plenty of new people and new things to learn. The technology kept getting in the way and the Foster team tried to help with Google and Discourse issues. I found a way to participate without some much technology drama.
The online, closing ceremony for Season One participants was set for Sunday, Feb. 27. Foster co-founder Dan spent a summer in Ukraine and has friends there. We postponed the closing for Season One due to the global situation unfolding.
The final assignment was to write this article or write anything of any length. The focus of the assignment was untold truths. What truths did we learn about ourselves, our writing, or any other area explored together? Before Season One, I never explored an untold truth or went into dark or new places searching for it.
Georgia Patrick, CEO, The Communicators, strategic storytelling firm specializing in the stories of professions, industries, credentials, and careers.