The Power of Group Support

by Kassandra Lamb

I’m in the middle of a two-week stint of fast-drafting. What is fast-drafting, you might ask?

A bunch of authors get together and make a commitment to themselves and each other that they will write X number of words per day for a certain period of time. Each author sets their own goals but they’re not supposed to let anything interfere with making it happen.

I’m going for 3,000 words a day, an ambitious but not unreasonable goal. I’m normally lucky if I write 3-4,000 new words per week. Mainly because too many other things come up that need my time and attention, or at the very least, they break my train of thought.

(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

But having made this commitment to the group, I have been able, for the most part, to give myself permission to ignore most of those other demands (fire or blood, I will probably respond to 😉 ).

And it’s amazing how much the cheering section of the group can do for one’s motivation.

Each day we report in on our progress and everybody comments with Woohoo’s and Yay’s if we make our goal, or even if we don’t but we at least get some new words on the page. If we hit a snag, the group will rally around and offer support and advice to get us unstuck.

The last time I did this, it was just a one-day affair, with 30 to 60-minute “sprints.” It happened to land on a day when I had many other distractions and obligations. I wasn’t able to participate in all of the sprints. And yet I cranked out over 6,000 words that day. During one 60-minute sprint alone, I wrote 3,000 words.

I’m not real sure why the group support makes such a difference. It’s really a bit of a mystery. It all remains positive. If you fail to make your goal for the day, nobody gives you a hard time. Indeed, the group will commiserate. And somehow that makes one that much more determined to write more the next day.

It’s amazing. Truly this kind of group effort gives meaning to the saying:

The whole is greater than the parts!

It reminds me of when I worked with a group called Women Build. They were an all-female crew that built houses for Habitat for Humanity. There were a few young, strong women in the group but most of us were middle-aged or older. Nonetheless, we managed to hang drywall and sand floors and shingle roofs. A dozen or so of us would show up at the building site each Saturday morning, and together we’d somehow get things done that none of us would dream of doing by ourselves. In less than a year, we had built a house!

How about you? Have you ever found you could do something as part of a group that you’d never have accomplished all on your own?

This fast-drafting session was organized, by the way, by my sister mp author, K.B. Owen. Check out her post if you’d like to know more about why fast-drafting with a group is so successful for authors. I especially like Elizabeth Anne Mitchell’s comment about outrunning one’s inner critic. 🙂

If you are an aspiring writer, you might want to check out my new guidebook for newbie authors.

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a SomedayIsHere FINAL (1)Someday Is Here! by Kassandra Lamb

This easy-to-read, how-to guide is full of both practical advice and emotional support. Psychotherapist turned successful mystery writer, Kassandra Lamb takes novice writers by the hand and walks with them on their journey, pointing out pitfalls along the way, some of which she discovered through tumbled-head-first-into-them experience.

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Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington mystery series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

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6 thoughts on “The Power of Group Support

    1. Kassandra Lamb

      You’re welcome, Elizabeth. And congrats on your progress.

      I’ve set a couple of “personal best” records this past week as well.

      Reply

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