Group Mentality

I’ve been facilitating a writer’s group for several years now.  There is a core group that attends faithfully, and it has been fantastic to share their voyages.  Some have become published authors, some have been able to open up about very personal journaling, and some are just having a lot of fun writing.  The thing that has been hard for me though, is keeping their interest.

A few years ago when it felt like everyone was getting bored, I stirred them up by having the group sponsor a writing event for a local grade school.  It was a huge amount of work and a lot of fun.  More recently, when I could feel the group slowing down, I contacted author Jessica Page Morrell and asked her to give us a class.  We opened it up to enough people to pay for her expenses, but kept it small enough that we got some fantastic one-on-one time with a talented writing instructor. 

I asked the members to give me suggestions about how they would like the group to go.  I got back responses such as wanting more critique time, and an online group.  I changed the agenda to include more time to present, and started a Facebook group, that only a couple of members use.  And yet, in spite of the lack of response, everyone keeps coming back, and they all seem to be having fun.  They get along so well that we have to be careful not to digress into an hour-long visit that has nothing to do with writing.  So maybe I’m worrying about them being bored for no reason.  I guess if they were really unhappy they wouldn’t keep coming back. 

What I fear, what this boils down to, is that the group will turn into a meeting where you know exactly what is going to happen, and when.  That before they even arrive, the members will know exactly who is going to say what and who will be talking about what. 

So what do you do to counter boredom or, even more dangerous to the health of a writer’s group, complacency?

One thought on “Group Mentality

  1. Hmmm that is an interesting fear…do you really think that you can foresee what will happen in a group of several people? I would think that there is always somebody who has a new idea, or a question or a problem. We are all so different and we do see things all in a different light, every one of us. So I would not assume, that there would ever be a day, when you know exactly what the others will talk about. But then I dont know the people of your group…

    Another thought that came to my mind was that this is also something comforting. Like a safe place to be, a safe harbor. Funny is that you just have that poem on the side, that a ship is not built for sitting in the harbor. But then everybody needs a harbor to go to or to come home to or we would be lost on the ocean…

    So, as long as people are coming back and it seems like they are having fun and as long as you have to stop talking because you held the meeting longer then it was planned, do not worry!!!
    As you said, people would not come if they didnt have fun or if they were bored.

    Stop worrying!!!

    Also, a group does not need a leader who only entertains them, they need to interact with each other. Give them a homework of bringing a new idea the next time and you will have tons of new ideas, depending on how many come.

    Keep us posted.
    Jenni

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