How a writing group travels apart and stays connected

Karalee’s Post #112

gardening trellis

Last week I was in the East Kootenays helping friends and family with their spring gardening. They have had such storms over the winter that, they had to consider many a greenhouse glass replacement option, I helped them with that.  I’ve also ventured back into the working world again where I’m having a great time meeting new people and reconnecting with others I haven’t seen for years.

This means that at the moment my retired physiotherapist and stay-at-home-mom life has changed. Relegating my time has changed too.

I chose this new path. Why?

Writing is a solitary activity, even if my comfy-zone workplace (as Silk puts it), is pretty good. I craved a change and stumbled onto an amazing company with an amazing product (Nerium International) that gave me the opportunity that absolutely requires getting out of the house and meeting new people and stretching me beyond my comfort zone!

I’ve come to realize I’m more social than I thought. Now that my children are flapping their adult wings, I want more challenges in my life. The prospect of becoming a respected published author is still in my sights, but I’m craving something more immediate and more tangible. And augmenting my retirement fund is a bonus.

Turtle LakeMaybe some of it is missing the face-to-face get-together support and critiquing from our 5Writers. Over the last five years our group has gone from meeting monthly, to well, not meeting much at all. Our lives have changed as most people’s do, and we’ve become separated seasonally, geographically, and with family circumstances.

We’ve become a traveling-in-5-different-directions writing group!

It is difficult enough to write while on the move  and even more difficult to round us up to remain a cohesive group.

But that is what the 5Writers have done. We’re determined to stay together and we’ve morphed from the physical to the virtual, which has become a “real” connecting point for us. So much so that we are embracing the blessings of (rather than cursing the time-draining aspect of) the internet. Our blog, social media, and email are keeping us together, traveling over the wavelengths around the globe.

Oh, it hasn’t been easy when we all strive to, and would still prefer to, come together face-to-face. Just ask Silk!

Imagine getting five strong-willed, mobile, opinionated and independent people to send their suggestions to one another, read them and resend, etc. It felt like we were trying to glue air to something. Somehow we had to decide how to work as a virtual group.

But with a lawyer in our midst and another very strong list-maker and mediator, we have been able to put our intentions into writing (pun intended). I believe our connecting points work because of our already-made relationships, much like how characters relate with one another in our stories.  We know each other’s back-stories, and that knowledge allows a deeper understanding and sharing between us.

Very cool!

We write to each other every week, a Monday morning “coffee” check-in that sometimes stretches to a late night whisky shot or occasionally a next-day grovelling check-in (me…).

Heck, every Monday is more than our former once a month face-to-face! I see it like the old-fashioned letter writing. There is a delayed response in our interactions, but it is still real communicating.

The traveling 5Writers write to meet-up!

How does your group stay connected?


Writing Progress: Writing is in my blood and there’s not a day that goes by without me thinking about one of my stories. Our retreat in June will get me back on track.

Books I’m reading: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

What I’ve learned: 

  • being outside my comfort zone can be either terrifying or exhilarating and I can choose which direction to take.
  • being grateful for all the positives in my life can keep my life in balance. My son was in a car accident last week. Everyone was okay and I concentrated on that rather than any negatives or what if’s.
  • I think about my writing and my story frequently!
  • my dogs really miss me when I’m gone.

Perspective Photos:

helmet reflection







water glasses









Happy writing!

6 thoughts on “How a writing group travels apart and stays connected

  1. You 5 are the envy of many of us. My group meets every other week and covers 2 or 3 manuscripts of typically about 15 pages. We are 6 women. I can’t imagine not being in a group of motivated and experienced writers. I think we’d be stronger if we also met outside group or
    via some other fashion and discussed intentions, accomplishments in past days, and ‘business’ plans for future successes. A blog like the one you all write is a GIANT commitment. Do you think the blog has been significant in your individual accomplishments?

    • Elizabeth, – meeting every two weeks sounds exhausting. While I agree with you that it is difficult to imagine not being in a group of motivated and experienced writers, I think you are write that having some bonds outside the group can sometimes be as important as the meetings within the group. With the exception of Helga and me, none of our 5writers knew each other before we became a ‘group’ but now, sharing our personal triumphs and challenges has become as important as sharing our writing challenges. Each week, Joe kicks off our Monday morning with a ‘check in’ email, where we share everything from our health to our family challenges, our goals for the week and the obstacles that we fear may get in the way of accomplishing the goals. Sometimes, just the act of ‘checking in’ makes me set goals that would otherwise not be set and of course, we all draw an immense amount of emotional support from just knowing the others ‘care’ and are rooting for us to accomplish our goals and be the very best we can be. Our followers on this blog serve a similar purpose… just knowing you are there, and reading, and rooting for us helps to make us work all the harder. Though now may not be the time for a variety of reasons, I do think we may, at some point, set another novel writing challenge as the inspiration and momentum it provided proved remarkable!

      • Thanks Elizabeth and Paula! Belonging to a writing group has kept me writing towards attaining the goal that I want. One day I will be a published and respected author. It’s too easy to not write when the publishing world has opened up to anyone that has a computer and can type, and marketing oneself is now the expected norm, and it is near impossible to be noticed amongst the millions of others self-publishing. Having a writing group keeps my writing in perspective, keeps it positive, and stokes my passion.

        Like Paula says though, it has also become important to share in one another’s lives as that is what life is all about too!

  2. Thank you Karalee for reminding us all how great it is to be a 5writer, and also how lucky we are to have kept our meetings going with ‘virtual meetings’ ! Though I must say I am very much looking forward to our ‘mini-retreat’ next week and hope that we can plan more in future.

    • I’m so looking forward to our retreat next week too! I think that being virtual makes our face-to-face all that more poignant and appreciated!

  3. I’m so impressed with you all the way you continue to keep the group together, even long distance, no, especially long distance, and nourish each other in your writing goals. I would think it’s pretty rare.

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