Surround yourself with brilliance.

The other night my writing group held a reading at a local restaurant to honor the memory of a long-time member who recently passed away and to honor the work and life of one of the founding members who is moving away shortly. It was all very sad and very humbling, but also incredibly uplifting and joyous. This writing group, The No Name Writing Group, has been meeting for over thirty years and is more talented than most of its members care to admit or realize. I half-joke a lot about how I'm waiting for them to realize how much of a fraud I am and kick me out. It's not because I don't think I'm a good writer, I think I can put words together just fine, but when I hear their work every month it's hard not to think that I don't belong.

But then I realized something: I'm becoming a better writer every day and it's because of this group. I actually don't think of myself as a complete hack anymore and it's because of this group - and it's not because they are constantly telling me I'm brilliant (although they do try and remind me of it when I need it most), but it's because they are brilliant and I think that it's finally rubbing off on me to some extent.

So this is what I'm here to really say:

  1. Don't surround yourself with people you think you're just as good as, or better than. If you really want to get better at what you do, surround yourself with people who blow your freaking mind.
  2. When you find those people who manage to make you say "Crap, I've got some work to do," make sure that they're people who will love and support you as you work on your projects. There's nothing worse than a brilliant jerk, and they should be avoided as much as possible.

And finally, I want to share the work of some of these brilliant people with you. Please go and read their stuff and bookmark it and tell them how much you love them.

Davyne Verstandig: http://www.davyneverstandig.com/

Karen LaFleur: http://www.lafleurartworks.com/

Merima Trako: http://www.worldaccordingtoblam.com/

This amazing short story by Tom Lagasse: https://www.femininecollective.com/beyond-the-finish-line/

And Tom's website, too!: www.tomlagasse.com

(They don't all have websites, but if I'm missing any, I'll update this list as I go!)

Holy Crap This Thing Is Aweseome #4: My Writing Group Has a Book Now!

Hey blog followers!! BIG NEWS!!! For the first time ever you can now purchase a thing in which my writing is printed and stuff!!! WHAT?!

It's just two short little essays from me, but this is exciting because when I first moved to Stars Hollow, I was invited to join a very special group of writers who are all far more talented than I am, but they think I'm funny and they always give me great advice, so I'm keeping quiet about the fact that I totally don't deserve to be in their presence. Seriously. This group has been meeting for over 30 years and has seen many writers come and go, but one thing is for sure: the level of talent here is baffling. To say that I'm honored to be a part of this is the understatement of my year.

Anyway, so we all decided to pool our money and put together an anthology of our work: nonamebookcover

Oh, how pretty... I love it.

And you can buy it from our local bookshop (to whom the collection is dedicated), The Hickory Stick Bookshop, by either clicking on the image or by clicking right here. Whichever you choose.

And I sincerely hope that you do buy it, not for the sake of reading my stuff, but for the sake of exposing yourself to the ridiculous amount of beauty that is everyone else's work. Seriously. You will be baffled when you read it and you'll want to read so much more.

Oh! Also, if you're interested, we're having a reading and a signing at The Hickory Stick Bookshop on Sunday, December 4th at 3pm! There will be refreshments and everything!

This is big, you guys. This feels good.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them.