Writing Lessons from the Confident Writing Community

Who could resist a title like that?

This post is a round up of the lessons shared in the group writing project: Writing Lessons that’s been running alongside this month’s community theme.

Pluma by elend on Flickr

The challenge was to share the writing lessons you had learned from your community, in particular your blog community.

The aim is simply to explore ways in which your writing might have changed or evolved in the context of your online community.

I’m not sure if I always say this when I post the results of a group writing project, but the results were fantastic, way surpassing my expectations.  There are pieces that make you think, make you laugh, and at least one that made me cry. (I know I’m a bit emotional about the material I read… something to do with the unexpected pleasure and surprise of opening up something that’s been written for you.  More on this next week.)

The most powerful lesson I learned from your contributions was this.

We all have this unquenchable desire to touch the face of the universe and say, hey, is it like that for you too? ~ Janice Cartier

That to me is what writing and community is all about… though I didn’t fully understand it until I read those words.

I am particularly grateful to those of you who joined in for the first time.  I know it can be a bit daunting to get past the doubts of ‘but I’m not part of that community’ or ‘but I’m not a writer…’ but guess what?  By taking part you demonstrate that you are :-)

Without further ado, here are the writing lessons, with extracts selected by me.

3 Ways Blogging Influences My Writing, by Wonderwebby

A picture might speak a thousand words, but a single conversation can change the world. The dialogue between us creates new words (and new worlds). It reminds me to write a blog, not a manual. Sometimes your words find their way into my words.

A Writer is Never Complete by Jamie at How Not to Write

I’ve learned not to be afraid, even if I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve learned not to hide, even when I’m bound to make a fool of myself. I’ve learned that being a part of the broader writing community is so much more than just retweeting posts and leaving comments. It’s about helping and learning, because a writer is never complete.

The Trouble with That from Jason Slater

That is when it dawned on me. Actually, that was not the exact moment that it dawned on me but it was the first time that that registered with me. From that time I became a little conscious of that particular word in my writing. Not only that but I was suddenly becoming aware of my own writing style and, fortunately, things began to change.

(Superb effort to maximise the use of the word “that” in a single post - thanks for making me smile Jason!)

Writing Lessons from Ulla Hennig

I learned that presenting my photos was a part of my blogging. I published a poem (in a sudden attack of audacity) and two very, very short stories. Again I got encouraging feedback and support. I published some pastel drawing which I had done a few years ago. Again I was afraid - would my “products” be good enough for the public? And again I got reactions which made me blush.

To Write or Not to Write? from Wilson at Will You Mind

After years of blogging and writing, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons from the community and they are:

1. Courage to speak out the truth;
2. Confidence to write the useful articles; and
3. Commitment to give the best to the readers!

Writing Lessons from Jon Swanson at Levite Chronicles

I write deeper, clearer, after three years writing here, because you coach and comment.

And because you wonder.

(A double challenge from Jon: he wrote his in 50 words)

7 Ways You Helped Me Write a Book from Joanna at Confident Writing (that’s me)

Courage: your support and encouragement gave me the confidence to start.  Perseverance: sharing ideas and tips about ways that you persist, tenaciously, and audaciously with writing projects has helped me finish mine.

What the Writing Community Teaches by Meryl K Evans

We help each other become better writers. Believe it or not, you won’t find a dash of competition anywhere (unless it’s an actual competition like NaNoWriMo).

Writing can be a lonely job, but not when you have a community like ours.

Balancing Out Your Communities by Alex Fayle at Someday Syndrome

I’d been resisting building a face-to-face community here because I wanted to put all my energy and focus into writing and building my online community/business. But guess what? Surprise, surprise! My face-to-face connections here have actually helped my writing.

What blogging taught me about writing by Paul Merrill at Shiny Bits of Life

Be concise.

Writing Lessons Learned from the Community by Nithya at Off Topic

I’ve learned that being yourself is the key to writing even if that inner critic is making vicious comments on your writing style.

4 Lessons Learned from Our Readers from David Bowman at Precise Edit

We have a purpose for our writing: help as many people as possible improve their ability to communicate in writing. If we are going to accomplish our purpose, we need to address the attributes and characteristics that hinder reader acceptance and understanding, which is good advice for all writers.

Writing from Hot Pan Walk to Cake Walk by Sudharm Baxi at My Authorings

Writing as a culinary skill:

Prepare food that can be digested, if the eater is required to take in something to digest it, you are to be blamed.

Never prepare the food without the prior knowledge of those who are going to consume it, you serve the best sea-food to a bunch of veggies and end up receiving boos and shoos.

Writing for Business Blogs: Lessons Learned from Brad Shorr at Word Sell

Polish is for case studies, press releases, and shoes - not blog posts. Blogs are an informal medium. A blog post should stimulate conversation. If thoughts are too finished, if there’s no room left for argument, you stifle conversation rather than stimulate it. My early blog posts reflected a dissertation mentality. Now when I write, I try to imagine myself in a tavern or a coffee house, talking things over with friends.

My Travel Community and Photos from Davenburgh by Andy Hayes at Sharing Experiences

The first and foremost goal of this website, aptly named Sharing Experiences, is to help build an internet outpost, virtual watercooler – call it what you like – but build a place where people can talk about really spectacular travel experiences… The most amazing bit about building a travel community is not only the online adventures, but offline as well.

Writing Lessons from Social Media Community by Robyn McMaster at Brain Based Biz

I never imagined that I would learn so much from readers as well as new research on the brain as I write blogs. Though I expected to pick up tips, I didn’t realize how many would come. What a bonus!

Check out the post for some great examples of writing lessons Robyn has learned from others and then applied to her own writing style.

The Story Artist by Janice Cartier

And here is a theory. It’s simple really. We all have this unquenchable desire to touch the face of the universe and say, hey, is it like that for you too? Or here, here’s some really good stuff I found, want some? Or, oh, this is what I have found is good for that. It is exchange. A quality of life exchange.

So what have I learned about writing from my community? That it is well worth every effort and every risk I take cobbling words together  for the exchange they bring to me. This large page we are on, this entourage of our own, makes the world a better place because we share it.

List of posts:

3 ways blogging influences my writing by wonderwebby

A writer is never complete by How Not to Write

The trouble with that by Jason Slater

Writing lessons by Ulla Hennig

To write or not to write from Will You Mind

Writing Lessons from Levite Chronicles

7 Ways You Helped Me Write a Book from Confident Writing

What the writing community teaches from Meryl.net

Balancing out your communities from Someday Syndrome

What blogging taught me about writing from Shiny Bits of Life

Writing lessons from the community at Off Topic

4 Lessons Learned from Our Readers from Precise Edit

Writing from Hot Pan Walk to Cake Walk from My Authorings

Writing for Business Blogs: Lessons Learned from Word Sell

My Travel Community and Photos from Davenburgh from Sharing Experiences

Writing Lessons from Social Media Community from Brain Based Biz

The Story Artist by Janice Cartier

Photo Credit: Pluma by Eelend on Flickr

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  1. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach · · Reply

    Wonderful collection! Thank you for empowering folks to join in this topic - there’s a lot of excellent tips and wisdom offered.

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coachs last blog post..Rainbows follow ME in search of GOLD - Make Money and Lose Weight

  2. Ulla Hennig · · Reply

    thanks so much for putting this great list together, and for selecting an excerpt of my post. I feel very honored to be included in your selections.

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..My First Book Review

  3. Brad Shorr · · Reply

    Joanna, Thanks for putting together this list. I’m really looking forward to reading these.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..An Online Marketing Fairy Tale

  4. Great collection. Lots of food for the muse.

    Bos last blog post..Bluebird Row

  5. Jamie Grove - How Not To Write · · Reply

    Wow! What an awesome list!

    Glad to be a part… and glad to have something to dive into on this gray, rainy day. :)

    Jamie Grove - How Not To Writes last blog post..A Critique That Goes Straight to the Heart

  6. Matt Hayward · · Reply

    What a wonderful collection of quotes, Joanna. I’ll be sure to read the articles once I have time, but from what I can tell they will be a great reference tool for me, being new to blogging I know I’ll pick up some great tips.

  7. Janice Cartier · · Reply

    I am humbled. What an honor you have given me. So many lovely pieces here. I am eager to read them all. Such a lovely gift to wake up to. The sun is just peeking over chilly tree tops this morning, still early and tea is brewing… I am gently smiling at the warmth, sheer warmth here.

    You have created a hearth Joanna, a lovely hearth to gather round.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Mark Twain’s Guide To Life

  8. Miguel Wickert · · Reply

    Neat collection, I’ll have to make rounds. Both “7 ways you helped me write a book” and “a writer is never complete” caught my attention so I’ll begin there. Thanks for sharing,


    Miguel Wickerts last blog post..Seth Godin: On Spreading Ideas

  9. Karen Swim · · Reply

    Joanna, this month of celebrating community inspired me and fueled an even deeper gratitude for those that allow me into their space. I treasure each interaction realizing that it is like an invitation to someone’s home. The comfy couch of the comment box, the front stoop on Twitter, all of the many places we meet and chat are such a wonderful gift. This roundup is a testament to your success in making us all feel welcomed in your home. Jan’s quote blew me away (but she has that effect on me). I can’t wait to read the posts I missed along the way and revisit the others. Thank you Joanna for having us over, it’s always a delight! Karen xo

    Karen Swims last blog post..The Warm Fire of Aloha

  10. A Writer’s Journey » Twitter As a Writing Tool · · Reply

    [...] I must make mention of the Confident Writing community’s lessons from blogging, summarised here. A great collection of experiences and something I, as a new blogger, will find greatly useful in [...]

  11. Barbara thanks - I like the way you put that, and will accept the positive feedback :-)

    Ulla it’s been my pleasure to watch you stretch and grow into your blogging, and I thought you captured the lessons from that journey really well

    Brad thank you, as ever, for your contribution and participation

    Bo hi :-) Hope you find some museworthy material

    Jamie well I loved your piece, and it set the thing off to a flying start. Ta muchly :-)

    Matt I’m sure you’ll find some good material in here. Thanks for mentioning it on your own blog

  12. Janice thank you for those words. I’ll treasure them. Your post really knocked me for six this time, partly because you’d contributed for the first time, but mainly because you encapsulated so well the social, community dimension of writing. Not to mention the whole same wavelength thing that’s going on :-)

    Mig I know there’s a lot here, but worth looking into. Those two places are good choices for a start - one is mine after all ;-) Jamie’s contribution is very, very powerful

    Karen please come over any time :-)

  13. Promoting a Writer « DarcKnyt · · Reply

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  15. Robyn McMaster · · Reply

    Every idea presented here is just as unique as the creator. This group writing project was an interesting challenge. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

    I’ve often thought how much fun it would be to share ideas over tea or in a coffee house, so I imagine it as I write, much as Brad Shorr says he does.

    Robyn McMasters last blog post..Picture Cynicism and Creativity in Brain

  16. Paul U · · Reply

    The title itself is really enticing to the eye.

    Paul Us last blog post..A trick to motivate yourself

  17. Tumblemoose · · Reply


    I suspect that you are proud to influence so many - and you should be.

    What a cool thing.

    It’s why Confident is one of the rockinest places for writers.


    Tumblemooses last blog post..An Ebook service that’s just write for writers!

  18. Robyn writing as part of a community is such a delight isn’t it? Each voice unique, the collective symphony so beautiful to hear

    Paul thank you :-)

    George thanks so much for that. I am very proud, though I try not to say so ;-)

  19. Talking Story with Say Leadership Coaching · · Reply

    The Spirit of Joanna…

    Hau‘oli la hanau – Happy Birthday to my friend and spirit spiller Joanna Young today, for as I post this it is already April 5th in her part of the world, beautiful Scotland, a place I am determined to visit……

  20. Nithya · · Reply

    Thank you for including the words of a newbie blogger in your list. I know I’m going to really enjoy reading through your list.

    Nithyas last blog post..The Monday Muse - No Excuses, Just Show Up

  21. wilson · · Reply

    Oh, Joanna. You’re the Jewel in this blogging arena, as you kept the promise and treat your readers like treasures! Thanks for including my post into the list, although I knew that I’m not well deserved it, due to my inadequate blogging experience…!

    wilsons last blog post..You Shouldn’t Fasting Even You’re Having Diarrhea!

  22. Gennaro · · Reply

    Lots of great tips. The thing that’s so interesting about writing or blogging is that it’s meant to be read. Unless it’s a private diary. It screams for an audience. Having a community helps with the feedback that’s necessary to write or blog effectively.

    There is a great book called Writing Without Teachers by Peter Elbow. Great for people who use writing groups for their projects (books, articles, etc). Immediate feedback from a selected group of writers.

    Gennaros last blog post..Authentic Local Eats: Readers Weigh In

  23. Nithya my pleasure, thanks again for taking part

    wilson you are all treasures! And I do try to keep my promises :-) Thanks for noticing

    Gennaro yes, it’s the immediacy of the feedback that makes blogging so exciting and creative. Thanks for that book recommendation - I’ll check it out.

  24. [...] Writing Lessons from the Confident Writing Community: Group Writing Project The most powerful lesson I learned from your contributions was this. [...]

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