It’s been three years since I first went to a Shut up and Write meetup in San Francisco.

The meeting was at Crossroads Cafe, near the Embarcadero. Immediately upon entering, I was astounded. It was a wonderful place, spacious, with a small bookstore, and an incredibly large, and cheap menu. I saw the red printed sign to the right, and introduced myself. It was a fairly new meetup, having only been going on for a few weeks.

It was the first writing meetup that connected with me – focusing specifically on my struggle, sitting down and writing. The concept is simple yet effective – we meetup at various cafes, introduce ourselves, then write silently, continuously, for an hour, on whatever project we want. After an hour, we talk, though there is no pressure to share or critique. That first day, I wrote in my journal, but from then on, I focused on my book, one I’d been struggling to finish.

It is incredibly effective. In those one hour sessions, I’d get two or three times the amount of writing done as a single hour on my own. It was positive psychology, group pressure helping all of get accomplished something far greater than we could have on our own. Shut up and Write helped me overcome my greatest barrier – building discipline. In those hourly meetups, I finished my book about my around the world trip.

When I moved to New York, I started the first chapter of Shut up and Write outside of the Bay Area, with my weekly meetup now having become four meetups organized by different folks in New York City. It’s a small, yet strong start. If you’re in NY, come!

Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary exercize – together, we can get more accomplished on our own projects then together.

It’s taken me three years to realize that it was fate, or luck, that night in San Francisco. Finding that meetup, going, and becoming part of the writing community, has changed me in ways I’m only beginning to understand. I’m finally realizing my dream of making writing a part of my life, no matter where I am. Now, in NY, I hope to spread to others what Rennie and the SF SU&W organizers did for me.

Spreading inspiration – is there any better way to make change?

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