Simply Experimenting: The Results of My Writing Experiment Group Writing Project

You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown (Denis Waitley)

Thanks to all of you who shared the ways you were breaking out of your current comfort zone with your contributions to the ‘Results of My Writing Experiment’ group writing project.

Some of you tried new forms - or wrote about  what happens when you do.  Other posts were reflections on what happens when you try new things - or how to get yourself unstuck when you find yourself the wrong side of the comfort zone.

Included in the list of contributions are two guest posts on the experimenting theme, and a series of posts on what it’s like to write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month.  These were written by a long-term friend and supporter of this blog, Karen Swim, and deserve a place here.  For one, I doubt she had time to write an entry, for another, I know you’ll find them of interest.

The Results of My Writing Experiment: Contributions

The first piece of fiction at Ulla Hennig’s weblog: Old and New - A Story from Berlin

Then the big War came, and the bombs came down. One after the other, its fellow houses were shattered into pieces. Oh, what a thundering and terrible noise that was!

Lillie Ammann reflects on the introduction of book reviews and author interviews at her blog: The Results of My Writing Experiment

I posted my first book review, ironically a review of a book on how to write reviews, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. I learned a lot from reading and reviewing the book and consider it a success

Kate Baggott shares a practical writing tip: Learn a Sentence in a Foreign Language

Now, whenever I get stuck, I try to learn one sentence in a different foreign language. The brain tingling has never been as strong as it was that day in the Hindi class, but it does break the block.

Kay Martin from Thrive Christians shared a poem in the comment box.

This is how she describes how she came to write the piece, plus the first stanza:

I’m back to fulltime writing after two decades of too busy with life to write. My writing muscles have been flabby. I am working with a prison ministry developing a newsletter for all inmates in the entire state.

After a great weekend in a large maximum women’s facility a friend encouraged me to write a poem. I’ve never tried poetry, but I loved the experience. I’m hooked. This was quite a surprise to me.

Here is the first poem … ever from my heart.

Freed On The Inside

Church on the inside
Doors slam shut, you’re locked inside
Praise & Preaching coming to the inside,
But freedom came to me on the Inside.

I shared what happens when good advice goes out the window, and finding my way out of the writing rabbit hole.

This is an experiment, I told myself.  The words are familiar but the format and the media is not.  You’re exposing yourself to a new set of readers.  That’s a good thing - but it throws up all those imagined voices that the inner critic loves to whisper in my ear.

Robert Hruzek brought us all to a shuddering halt with a guest post on Dead Ends.  This was part of a 3-part writing experiment, with linked posts at the Middle Zone and another at Scrambled Toast. [When do you think you'll be repeating that particular experiment Robert?!]

Hey, I’ve been there. I’ve spent literally hours sitting in front of a screen or piece of paper and agonized over just what the heck I wanted to say. We’ve all done it, right? But I ask you; why do we put ourselves through that?

Brad Shorr shared some of the writing experiments he’d tried at Scrambled Toast, his Blog Laboratory.

Trying new approaches keeps my writing fresh and keeps me alert for new perspectives on topics I cover in my Word Sell writing/marketing blog. Some say that predictability and narrow topic focus are desirable for blog content, but I try to give my readers something new to think about, or at least smile about.

Karen Swim - with many thousands of others - has just completed her first novel as part of the huge writing experiment that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

She shared her journey from intention through to completion in this fascinating series of posts.

Write a Novel in 6 Months… or 30 Days

Trick or Treat?

Paralyzing Perfectionism

Sha Na Na No - In the Key of Thanks

I Yam A Writer

Last night around 11 pm, I realized that I was less than 1500 words away from my goal. Was I seriously going to pull this off?

With visions of yams and a stress free Thanksgiving in my head, I leaned in and went for it! Right around midnight I had typed the final period on my first draft.

I uploaded my obfuscated text (thank you YWriter for including this function) to the NaNo word count validator.

Confetti fell, bells rang and the screen blinked YOU WON! Actually the confetti, bells and blinking were only in my mind but hey you know anyone who even attempts this is deserving of bells and confetti, don’t ya think.

So the screen is flashing and I did what any winner would do, I started bawling. Yep, that’s right I cried. Go figure, I have had the same reaction at the end of every marathon I’ve run (well that might be from the pain but you get the picture).

Finally, from Robyn McMaster at Brain Based Biz: As a Writer - I Can

Would you say you’re a fairly good writer? If your immediate response is, “no,” you may hold a myth about yourself, as I did. Notions of Robyn as writer… never! In high school I wrote with a textbook style - complying with course requirements. Adequate but boring! Recent doctoral studies required adding terms “experts” in my field recognize. So, I struggled in writing about discoveries and findings.

Interestingly, I began to reject the earlier myth about myself when I began to blog. By playing with ideas and experimenting with writing strategies, and thinking, “I can,” the myth began to fade away.

Thank you, everyone, for your contributions to this project.

And to anyone who’s still wondering if they’ll ever say those magical words “I Yam a Writer”… the deafening answer from November must be this:

Yes you can.

Thanks to Bo for sharing the Waitley quote.

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  1. Lillie Ammann · · Reply

    Thanks for this group writing project and for encouraging us all to experiment.

    Lillie Ammanns last blog post..Janet Kaderli Visiting This Week

  2. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Joanna, You must be thrilled about the strong response to your experiment in community blogging. It turned out to be a lot of fun and very educational. Well done!

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Interview with Author Lillie Ammann this Wednesday

  3. Robert Hruzek · · Reply

    We appreciate your thoughtful and fun themes, Joanna. They always challenge us to break out of that common mold we tend to put ourselves into. I for one am grateful for the forum you provide occasionally for my rants, er, thoughts on this or that.

    Hey, the 3-part themed post was a great experiment, wasn’t it? I’ll have to see if the ol’ Muse is up for it again sometime soon!


    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..What I Learned From… the Generosity of Others

  4. Ulla Hennig · · Reply

    I am thankful for the forum you provide - without you and your encouraging words I would have never thought of leaving my comfort zone!

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..The Color Blue

  5. Karen Swim · · Reply

    Joanna, you are truly a shining star! You encourage us to reach deep and pull out the very best of ourselves. Under your capable tutelage we are all gaining greater confidence that spills over into other areas of our life. I laughed and wept a little as I read these powerful entries. I also felt such a sense of celebration at how everyone committed to explore new ways. The month of experimenting was truly a learning lab for me. I am so inspired by what others did and have learned new tricks (learning a sentence in another language - brilliant!). Yes we can!

    Karen Swims last blog post..7 Gifts You Can Give Yourself this Holiday Season

  6. Lillie, I assure you it was my pleasure! Thanks for taking part.

    Brad, I was very moved by some of the contributions, and the dialogue around about them about finding the confidence and self-belief to take those leaps. It is hugely gratifying to me. Thanks for noticing.

    Robert, it certainly was a great experiment, and fun watching your readers running around the internet after you. (I nearlly typed ‘running around the universe…’ maybe some truth in that too…)

    Ulla, thank you very much. That’s really important feedback for me.

    Karen, thank for those wonderful words. I found the contributions very moving too - and more than that, what lay behind them, and the growth and courage they reflect.

    Yes we can!

  7. Robyn McMaster · · Reply

    Joanna, I loved the challenges you, Brad and Robert presented in November… Challenges help me experiment in many ways… and keep my approaches to topics fresh. What would we do without your wisdom, guiding hand and encouragement?

    Robyn McMasters last blog post..What I Learned from Uncle Earl’s Generosity

  8. Thanks Robyn, I do know your brain responds creatively to challenges and questions! I found your own contribution to this one very powerful, so thank you for sharing it with us.

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