Inspiration can be relative to your surroundings.
While inspiration can strike at any moment, no matter how inopportune, sometimes, inspiration is relative to your surroundings.
For the past few months I’ve been meeting with some writing friends that I met through NaNo last year. We meet once a week at a McAllister’s in Colleyville. We eat, we socialize and of course, we write. There are five of us total, but sometimes there are only two or three of us, while other days all five of us are present.
We sit at the same table and generally order the same thing as we did last week. Sweet teas all around, minus one of us, who prefers her tea unsweet, thank you very much.
The days that I meet with this group of ladies, are the days I am most productive in my writing. Perhaps it’s because I’m surrounded by people who are furiously working on their own manuscripts and I’m inspired to be just as productive as they are. Perhaps it’s simply because this day is our “writer’s date night” and my brain recognizes it as the night to do nothing else but write. No homework, no movies, no knitting, no reading, no baking — just writing.
Whatever the reason, I’m glad I have this writing group in my life. While I may not make it out there each week, when I am there, I’m very productive, writing anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 in just a few hours. And each time I meet with them, the higher my word count seems to get. So it makes sense that because I am so productive with this writing group, I will be productive when meeting with another writing group!
Saturday, I met with the “official” NaNoWriMo group of DFW. Because DFW is known as the DFW Rhinos on the NaNo forums, there is a group known as Rhinos Anonymous, which does year round write-ins about once a month. With NaNo around the corner, and RA meeting a few minutes from my apartment, I thought it would be a good thing to go to.
I was with them from 1p to 4p and only barely managed just less than 1,000 words, and that was only because I was disciplining myself as much as possible. While these ladies are great fun and all very nice, there was a little too much socialization and not enough actual writing. I’m all for talking and joking, but the point of a write-in is to, well, write, and I felt that there was not a whole lot of that getting done.
In my other group, if I only manage 1,000 words it’s because I did a lot of research or did some outlining or character sketches. Today, however, it was like pulling teeth to get to that 1,000 word mark. I went in at just past 7,000 words and at 4p I had 7,900 words.
At this point, a friend of mine (who meets with me in the other group) and I decided to leave and come to my apartment to write. We made a deal with one another: she would finish the scene she was working on and I would reach 4,000 words and then we’d watch a movie (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince).
In about two hours, we’d each made our goal.
Nothing had changed except our surroundings, but words just kept flowing.
Inspiration can be picky like that.
Sunday I went over to her apartment for more writing (the goal this time is to jump from 11,000 to 15,000). Our reward was an afternoon of watching Glee.
Maybe it’s not just the change of scenery that releases my inner muse, but the thought of a “reward” if I meet my daily word count goal. Or maybe it’s a little bit of both. Then again, it could just be that I was surrounded by like minded, disciplined people. The objective of the day was to write, and write is what we did.
And while the ladies of the RA group are great, I just don’t get as much done. If I need a day of socializing and fun, perhaps I’ll meet with them. Otherwise, I think it’s best if I continue with the other writing group.
How do you feel about writing groups? Are they helpful to your productivity?