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