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Introducing the Theme for March: Community

Those of you who have been reading for a while will know that I write here to a monthly theme.  This is loosely around the ingredients or dimensions of confident writing… with quite a lot of diversions along the way.

I generally close a theme after a month even if it’s still got a long way to go.  Tenacity was certainly one of these themes I we, could have stuck with for longer, but I think the ideas stay fresher if I stop before they’re done.  (And there’s no rule that says I can’t revisit the same theme in a few months to see how things have progressed meantime…)

I’m going to change tack a bit for March and explore some issues around community.

Mobile Community by kamshots on Flickr

This will have more of a focus on blog writing than usual - but still with a focus on the writing side of the blogging.  Some of the topics on my list so far include:

  • Writing with rapport on the web
  • I, we you: how language affects community building
  • The benefits (and downsides) of building a community round your blog
  • Comment and guest author policies
  • A new group writing project - stay tuned for news on how to take part

As usual, if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover around this theme, please do just let me know in the comment box below.

Photo Credit: Mobile Community by kamshots on flickr

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  1. Andrew says:


    It may be a cliché, but there is a great deal of truth to the saying that ‘no man or woman) is an island unto himself (or herself).’

    As human beings, I think the need for involvement with some form of community in inbuilt into all of us to some degree. We all have a need to feel like we belong to something, like we are part of something.

    Moreover, I feel that the points which you mention above, and especially your third and forth point, are issues which are of importance and relevance to almost every participant in the blogosphere.

    I look forward to hearing about your group writing project.



    Andrews last blog post..Employee rights and responsibilities part 10: Same work, same pay

  2. Alina Popescu
    Twitter: alina_popescu

    I believe this will be quite an interesting month! Can’t wait to read the posts and comments around this theme. And I have to agree with Andrew, no matter how antisocial our pose of choice is, we all need a sense of belonging to a smaller or larger group.

    Alina Popescus last blog post..WoBM Anniversary Group Writing Project - Jury’s Turn

  3. Jim Murdoch says:

    Writing is a solitary occupation and I would guess that attracts a certain type of character - a sweeping statement I know - but I for one am not what you’d call a social animal by a long chalk. It even takes me effort to participate online and indeed after feeling it was taking over my life I cut myself off from any online interations and only used the Internet as a research tool. A part of me would love to go back to that time when all I had to worry about was the writing and not marketing myself which is my primary reason for getting into all this again.

    As for socialising with other writers, I know a few who live in the Glasgow area but I’ve only met one and he was more a friend of my wife’s at the time and we only see him every couple of months in the flesh.

    The thing is, I don’t feel deprived of company. I don’t feel I need it. I’ve self-contained and self-sufficient. I get on fine in company - it’s not as if you’ll find me in the corner examining a yukka plant for hours on end - but on the whole if I can avoid gatherings (and this is social events of any kind) I do.

    So the question need to be asked: Do you feel a part of the writers’ community? Well, no, I’d have to say but I’m still uncomfortable being called a writer if I’m honest hence my recent post on Imposter Syndrome; I keep expecting to be found out.

    Jim Murdochs last blog post..There’s something we need to talk about

  4. Brad Shorr says:

    Excellent! Another timely topic. Sharing a sense of community is rewarding in itself, and I’m finding it can also lead to collaborative writing opportunities. It might be fun to explore that aspect of things a bit. How do you keep coming up with these fabulous themes, Joanna?

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..7-1/2 Reasons Why I Won’t Follow Someone on Twitter

  5. Ulla Hennig
    Twitter: ullahe

    Great theme! Reading your blog post makes me think about the relationship between community, and being a social person, having contacts, talking to other people on the one hand, and being an individual, having time for myself, being on my own on the other hand. For me I need both - interacting with other people and being on my own - to be creative.

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..Out of my Blog Reader: Two Art Blogs

  6. Harold Shaw says:

    I really like the theme this month. Community means so many different things nowadays, we have our local community, then national and international communities.

    While I believe that the national and international communities are shrinking due to the internet and things like blogging. I believe that our local communities are not as close as they were in the past. Many of us are spending too much time and effort in these electronic portals to “every where” and neglecting what is or what is not going on in their local communities, which actually affect them personally and professionally to a much greater degree.

    I think the internet is a great tool and have met quite a few great people here, but sometimes it seems like we all need to push away from the computer and go out and interact face to face and develop that community more.

    It will be interesting to see where this theme does lead.


  7. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, I agree with Andrew’s comment that “no man is an island.” Writing and community are intertwined. Whether you are a novelist, blogger or poet you never write alone. Our community surrounds and supports us as we seek to set and achieve those audacious goals. They inspire us to fiercely (and tenaciously) pursue our writing goals. We also of course write to a community and we can never learn enough about fine tuning that craft, that balance of writing for self yet writing for others. I look forward to this theme and improving my own writing.

    Karen Swims last blog post..In Celebration of Reading and Writing

  8. --Deb says:

    This is going to be a great theme, Joanna, I can just feel it!

    -Debs last blog post..What IS an E-Book?

  9. Terry Heath says:

    It will be interesting to see the fresh approach to the, otherwise-overdone, blog-as-community theme I know you’ll take!

    Terry Heaths last blog post..It’s Just That I Was Born 400 Years Too Late

  10. Robert Hruzek says:

    Y’know; before I got involved in blogging, commenting, LinkedIn and Twitter… I woulda said, “Community? What’s the big deal?”

    But now, it’s become a nearly integral part of my life, and I don’t see how I managed without it! Great theme for the month, Joanna; I look forward, as always, to see where it leads…

    Tip o’ the hat to ya!

  11. Ralph says:

    Well, Joanna, what I like about bloging and twittering is sharing ideas and getting an insight into other people´s views and situations. I must admit that it is difficult for me to keep to a certain schedule in writing, but as I have been writing for all my life, there is a certain urge to express myself. The only problem for me is that I can´t type and write at the same speed of things happening in my life!
    Anyway, I will follow your topic of the month more closely now; hope that I can keep up to this aim! I am sure it will give me a lot of insight.

    Ralphs last blog post..A new start for our foster family

  12. Debbie Yost says:

    Looking forward to what you have to share!

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Forever is a Long Time

  13. amypalko says:

    Following up on the ‘no man is an island’ quote - I can’t help but be reminded of the opening scene to About A Boy:
    I realise this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I think there’s a more serious point here. It’s easier than ever to slip into the mindset that we are living in an ‘island age’ and yet there does exist an almost overwhelming urge to connect digitally.
    All of this is a rather long way of saying that I’m really looking forward to this month’s theme!

    amypalkos last blog post..Discovering Crystals

  14. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Andrew I think we all have some need to connect, and the modern age means we’re finding different ways to do that. A lot of them are made easier (and maybe also harder) by the written word, and that’s one of the things I hope to explore this month

    Alina it’s a bit of a different direction for me, but I seem to have a month’s worth of posts stacked up already! We’ll see how it goes…

    Jim I’m a pretty solitary creature too, and I can identify with a lot of what you say. I’m not at all sure about the idea of writing or writer’s communities - even the thought of a book group leaves me in a cold sweat! But it struck me that a lot of people - maybe a musician say - might want to build online networks and communities, or a professional might want to build a community around a blog, or a book - and they’d want to use words and writing as part of how they do it. My plan is to focus more on that side of things than writerly communities as such.

  15. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Brad I might need to come and ask you and Karen for info on how the collaborative writing bit works… Re the themes… tends to come from reading the comments… combined with ‘idle’ time on ferries. The journey is about 20 minutes, which is perfect thinking and blog planning time.

    Ulla yes, I think that balance is very important - many of us need time for ourselves, especially for that creative time and space. I’ll try and explore some of that over the next few weeks.

    Harold that’s an interesting perspective. I wonder how much of what you describe is based on where you live? I know it felt like that when I was living in the city and a sense of local community would have been hard to find even if I’d gone looking for it. Things seem different - easier to get the on/offline balance - now I’m in a small town/ rural environment. Food for thought there though, definitely. Thanks.

  16. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Karen it’s an interesting balance isn’t it? I know I get a lot of support from my blog / twitter community for the blog writing I do, but a lot of the more personal writing stays just that… more personal. I don’t know about you improving your writing… I might just be watching and learning (and passing on) what you do to help build community :-)

    -Deb hope so - it always feels like a bit of a leap in the dark at the beginning of the month!

    Terry thanks, I will try and take a fresh approach… I don’t like the same old, same old either. Pinch me if I’m starting to sound cliched…

    Robert it’s interesting how much our experiences and perspectives have been changed by things like blogging and twitter. I know I enjoy the sense of support and encouragement - and humour - that I get from friends online.

  17. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Ralph a fast moving life sounds like it’s a nice problem to have. I’m sure your words will catch up in their own good time.

    Debbie well it’s a bit different for me… we’ll see where it goes. I’m sure my wonderful community of readers will let me know if it’s not delivering!

    Amy I love the way you can find those clips to illustrate a point… Actually, I guess that does in itself reinforce your point - that we can now make connections through shared words, songs, stories, favourite clips… making the possibility of connection deeper than many of us could have expected.

  18. Karen
    Twitter: karenwallace

    Joanna, I realise I haven’t been visiting you here as much as I’d like of late, but with a focus like community, you can bet I’ll be hanging around you and this wonderful ‘community’ of readers you have as much as I can!

    Building community online intrigues me, and I cannot wait to hear not only your take on the matter, but the conversations that are bound to ensue.

  19. wilson says:

    I loved this new theme title, Joanna. We all cannot live alone by ourselves and that’s why we need the help from the community. I always remember an old adage, “Together we’re strong!”…

    wilsons last blog post..Mind About the Soup’s Boiling Time!

  20. Tumblemoose says:

    Right on, Joanna.

    I love the community aspect of blogging. In some ways, it’s the best part.

    Bring it on!


    Tumblemooses last blog post..Writers: Does a library intimidate or inspire?

  21. Gennaro says:

    As unusual as it may sound, blogging and the Internet have helped to re-build the idea of community. It was a faltering concept with people constantly moving and losing touch with old frinds and neighbors. Now, it’s possible to keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and a variety of other social networks. Not to mention, it’s possible to communicate with people in your niche of choice. There are no borders on the Internet.

    Gennaros last blog post..San Marcos La Laguna: A Peaceful Retreat

  22. Janice Cartier says:

    Oh ,this is a good one…and one absolutely worth exploring. I love About a Boy, Amy . Thanks so much for Providing the clip as a reminder. Thoughts are rushing in about possibilities here….and already I am wondering what words…what words might signify as inclusive, or no….ooh, another idea…. Sheesh , Joanna , you’ve done it again.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Cool Starts Here

  23. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Karen hi, glad I drew you in with this one! I’m looking forward to the conversations too

    Wilson it certainly seems to work round here - I get lots of strength and inspiration from you

    George I think for me it is. But I will try and be level-headed about it this month. A bit anyway ;-)

    Gennaro that’s right - it’s the connecting and building of relationships with people you didn’tknow before that surprises me… still

    Janice hope your comment means you’re on the road to recovery…

  24. Janice Cartier says:

    Yes, Joanna, tentatively on the mend. I even painted a little today. Hope all is cozy there. I like this theme a lot. I’ll spend a bit of the afternoon jotting down some ideas I think. As always it’s a pleasure here.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Cool Starts Here

  25. Jasmin Tragas says:

    Hi Joanna! I really look forward to reading your posts about this theme and hope to join in the group writing project. Great idea!

    Jasmin Tragass last blog post..Marching On

  26. [...] It is, of course, also a contribution to this month’s theme of community. [...]

  27. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Jasmin, hi and sorry for the delay in replying! Hope you’ll be able to take part, but if not… well I see you’re busy :-)

  28. [...] community the theme for this month it seemed like a perfect time to run another group writing [...]

  29. David Atkinson says:

    Joanna you are such an inspiration to us all that your choosing of the theme for this month is so timely.

    You are an awesome role model for the community.

  30. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    David goodness, what kind words. Thank you so much

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  32. Banish Fear Through Community | Someday Syndrome says:

    [...] Young over at Confident Writing spent March talking about community and yesterday something occurred to me: fear destroys communities in so many different [...]

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  34. [...] of the things I want to do as this community theme draws to a close is to give something back to all of [...]

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    [...] at Confident Writing. There’s always useful, dazzling and energizing things happening: from monthly writing themes to group writing projects. It goes without saying, Joanna’s sense of community and awareness [...]

  36. [...] This post is a contribution to the theme of community. [...]