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Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Value of a Writing Tribe

by Tammy Euliano

In April of 2016, early in my encore career of writing, I attended a writing immersion by Margie Lawson at her home near Boulder, CO. Eight women attended, and one of our number started an email chain in advance through which we shared our writing. We were all enthusiastic beginners.

Margie runs a superb course, though it was probably too advanced for any of us. We were still dealing with plot and genre while she was teaching us about rhetorical devices. More important than what we learned were the friendships fostered by those few days together. Seven of the eight continued to talk by Skype or Zoom every month or so since.

Last week, we had our fourth annual reunion retreat at my lake house near Gainesville, Florida. Due to
Covid travel fears, it was smaller than in years past, but still writers came from Minnesota, Washington and Colorado; others joined by Zoom. We wrote during the day, with breaks for long walks with my dogs, or to talk about book marketing or plot problems, or to just go sit on the dock and enjoy the sun. At night we got on Zoom and workshopped each other’s books, set goals for the year, reviewed courses we’d taken, played games, ate too much, stayed up too late, and laughed a LOT.

So what has the group of total beginners accomplished in less than five years? Of the eight, five have published, several more than one book, and one has published NINE (9). The remaining three are hoping for publication by our next meeting.

We are different ages, from early 30s to 70s; with no children, young children, or adult children; married and unmarried; employed and retired, but none of us is a full-time writer. One is a phenomenal book coach and Story Grid editor though.

We each write in a different genre and with very different methods, tools and techniques. We aren’t a critique group and only rarely read each other’s novels, except isolated scenes or general plot discussions, but we work incredibly well as a group. What binds us is an interest in how to tell a good story, and once there, how to get it out for others to read. We celebrate each other’s successes and support each other during the inevitable low points. With the encouragement, support and genuine concern of my fellow Lake House Writers, I’ve achieved my goal of a (soon-to-be) published novel. My hope for readers of our blog is they find a like-minded tribe to share their writing journey, separate from editors and critique partners. Surprisingly, and maybe preferably, you need have little in common, except a love of writing…and my dogs…or wine, that would probably work just as well.

~Tammy 

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Tammy Euliano’s writing is inspired by her day job as a physician, researcher and educator at the University of Florida. Her short fiction has been recognized by Glimmer Train, Bards & Sages, Flash Fiction Magazine, and others. Her debut novel, a medical thriller entitled “Fatal Intent,” will be published by Oceanview March 2, 2021. You can sign up for her newsletter and find more information at https://www.teuliano.com.

6 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I agree that every writer needs support. Some find it in writing circles, others in critique groups, others in friends or family. I'm super-glad you've found your tribe.

Kait said...

One of my blog mates at a former blog used to end each post with the phrase: It’s all better with friends. So true. Sounds like you have found your tribe. What wonderful yeast and support.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Happy you've found your tribe.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

So go--oo---d to have supporters, friends, and even critics to get you through the hard times and celebrate the joy. Sounds like your tribe accomplished all of it - together.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm amazed your group has stayed together. It's rare. How lucky for you!

KM Rockwood said...

How wonderful that you have found such a group.

I am a member of a critique group that has been together for 0ver 10 years--none of us remembers exactly what year, but we know it was November.