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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Communication unplugged

I am so happy to report that the writing group, "Write on People", that I created back in November 2011 is alive and getting healthier all the time. The group is small, but we are having a lot of fun expressing who we are through our creative efforts.

Today we added an extra half hour to our regular meetings and decided to use it as a social time to talk about whatever happens to be on our minds. We have discovered that we all enjoy hearing about each others lives. I think today we also learned the value of plain old fashioned communication unplugged.

When you get several people of about the same age with different life experiences talking about the same thing it is surprising what comes out. We are learning to learn from each other. This group is turning out to be much more than I originally thought it would be. It is amazing what can happen when you plant the seed of an idea.

Of course, we do write. After all the group is called Write on People. We select a one word writing challenge to be worked on at home and brought back to read at the next meeting. We also have a box of "spontaneous" writing prompts to use during the meeting. These prompts are meant to jog our creative minds and do not require a lot of thought. We also try to incorporate fun writing challenges, often borrowed from the desks of elementary teachers. We all have the mind of a child. Some of us have just forgotten how to let that mind out to play.

Today I used something I found online that not only worked out well, but caused a lot of laughter. A teacher had written down the first half of some familiar quotes, as in "if at first you don't succeed" and then asked her first grade students to write their own ending. We found it not quite as easy as it should have been. One of our group came up with the reason. Knowing the original second half kept us from freely writing a new one.

Anyone could start a group like this in any community, anywhere. All it takes is a place to meet, a little paper and a pen or pencil. Although my credibility as a published author helped to get this group started, it was my desire to gather like minded people together that made it successful. Members of the group have gradually recalled just how much fun writing can be and how beneficial it is to share their experiences and communicate unplugged.

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