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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.
Initiation by Fire and Fast Forward into Season One to Discover Untold Truths
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.
What Did You Expect? What Actually Happened?
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.
Here’s what I expected and found true.
I expected design and enough structure to keep it moving and together.
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.
I expected accountability.
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.
I expected to sweat and feel the pressure of creative challenges.
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.
What I Did Not Expect and Found More Useful Than 100 Self-Help Courses
- I thought Foster and Season One would be only writing assignments, editing each other’s drafts and sharing secrets from years of writing for different publications, platforms, and revenue arrangements. Yes, this was a place for professional writers and more. It was dedicated time to make sure we followed four steps every week in Google and Zoom work parties, workshops, and virtual dinners. The four steps are Post. Discover. Learn. Find and Show Gratitude.
- I thought this 90-day sprint was for writers of articles, essays, and client projects which took a week or less for such writing assignments. I discovered there are more types of writers than anticipated. There are some writers who have not written an article or chapter in months, but they are working on a book. There are writers who seem to spend a lot of time in meditation, breathing exercises, and getting ready to write. How they still call this full-time earning and do not produce finished pages each day was revealing. No online course ever showed me that.
- I expected to write and get some Google Docs editing and comments for drafts posted in the Foster Community Season One private room. What happened went way beyond that and it made all the difference. Emails were weekly, focused, and useful. Everything in the email was an action item and link to writing or online gathering for a workshop, a special event to look at initiatives throughout the community or virtual dinners which came with a gift card to have your meal delivered in time for the gathering to break bread and learn more.
- Whenever you step into someone else’s platform, such as Foster Community, you wonder what the financial drivers are. Are we here to create content so the platform owner can have a thriving business? Are we here because Foster Community wants to help us get better, get published, and get paid? The founders acted like writers, facilitators, and hosts. They kept the group small enough to work as a dinner party and large enough to include differences and diversity. They were transparent about their business model and where we writers and editors factor into the money. Foster is a startup. Period. They accept venture money and are hoping the members of the community want to desire ownership by increasing their investment of talents, time, and, perhaps, money.
- The writers did the writing and kept promises. Upon acceptance into Season One, we had to sign an agreement with each other about what would happen in the next 90 days. I welcomed this because just about every community I’ve joined has been the owners doing 95% of the writing and posting, every day, promoting their brand, their services, and their dedication to the community. But they did not want to hear from the community unless it made money for the owners. Even when a member raises a question, in those other communities, it’s not facilitated or barely answered. Not so in Foster Community. That helped me go faster, deeper, and rethink everything.
The Closing Ceremony Will Happen in a Foster Way
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.
My untold truth is I never knew there were that many untold truths waiting for discovery, then writing. Now I can hardly wait to see what everyone else writes and posts as their closing ceremony offering.
Georgia Patrick, CEO, The Communicators, strategic storytelling firm specializing in the stories of professions, industries, credentials, and careers.