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Friday, 18 May 2012

The power of belonging...

Recently I have been thinking about the power of belonging as a means to help us achieve our goals. Writing can be a very solitary occupation, but there are many ways in which to lessen that isolation and increase output. Similarly, other goals we desperately want are helped by belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Like many in sedentary occupations I have wanted to lose weight for some time. Finally, in January I acknowledged I was getting nowhere on my own. So I joined Slimming World which uses a mixture of common sense, NLP and the power of belonging to a group to share experiences, as well as having that all important motivation of someone else checking weekly on your weight and giving you feedback. It's not rocket science but in three and a half months I have lost one stone two pounds - because I have had help with my motivation by belonging. Similarly, I have been battling with the serial I am writing for People's Friend. I find this process difficult! After each instalment I have to wait to find out whether it is suitable, often have suggestions for amendments and cannot write the next instalment until I know the editors are happy. For someone who writes by the seat of their pants this is not my chosen way of working. BUT I have carried on and I know I shall complete the whole eight instalments because there is someone asking about my progress (yes People's Friend do e-mail and gently ask how it's going). I also eventually get the all important, 'yes thanks, we love that instalment' once I've revised it. In the end I know I shall get the ultimate prize of seeing the serial appear in the magazine, beautifully illustrated. I'm on instalment 5 at present and struggling but I will get there. With Slimming World I get silver stickers and certificates along the way and the joy of getting back into much loved clothes that have been languishing at the back of the wardrobe. There are groups for everything so I would advise anyone looking for motivation to go ahead and join, NOW. I belong to a small critiquing group, to the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) and to a small group who go away to a writing retreat. Every single time I visit these groups I get new motivation, advice and feedback. I would advise anyone to get in there and belong to something if you are struggling with your writing - or from that dreaded spread we call writers' bottom! I'd be fascinated to know which groups you belong to and how they have helped you achieved your goals. This blue dress hadn't seen the light of day in years - here at the RNA Summer Party with lovely authors Liz Fenwick, Carol Christie Sadan, Giselle Green, and Kate Harrison.

5 comments:

gise said...

You looked lovely inthe blue dress Cara - obviously the slimming club is working. You're right about meeting with like-minded people giving us the motivation to continue - whatever our endeavours!Good post!

Kate Jackson said...

Lovely to see you at the party, Cara. I look forward to reading your serial in The People's Friend so keep on writing.

Cara Cooper said...

Thanks Kate, I should of course be working on that instalment NOW. Went walking with hubby the other day and threw a few ideas up in the air. Luckily one of them looks workable, I find each instalment needs a separate hub so that all the other continuing storylines can revolve around it. Oh, and thank you, that's just given me an idea for another blogpost! Thanks
It was lovely seeing you too Kate and hearing about all your endeavours.

Hi Giselle, we didn't get too long to chat did we but we can catch up soon, really looking forward to it and enjoying 'Falling for You' hugely.

Rena George said...

Another excellent post, Cara.
I’ve never been a great joiner of things, but I can see the benefits of belonging to a group where like-minded people have the same aims.
And what an interesting insight into the world of People’s Friend serial writing. I look forward to reading it.
I’ve never attempted one of these. I can see how frustrating it must be, having to wait for a response (and possible request for changes) after each installment.
On the other hand the lovely editorial people at the ‘Friend’ do like to hold their writers’ hands, guiding them through the process until the magazine’s very specific requirements have been achieved. I think I kind of like that. (It’s that belonging thing again)
Love the picture by the way. Don’t you all look glam?

Chris Stovell said...

I can't believe I missed you at the Summer Party! Mind you, whereas once I felt very shy and didn't know anyone, I met people I knew in all directions this year so progress across the room was slow. Well done you for your hard work and your determination to reach your goals.