Participation is a Growth Opportunity

National Poetry Month, 2008, 2009 Unofficial
Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge, November 2009 Official
National Novel Writing Month, 2009 Official

Attractions to Group Projects

Officially and unofficially, I’ve participated in these and other writing projects. They can be really intense. And I was thinking about why I elect to participate. It’s rarely just because I get bored.


  • Pushing myself beyond my suspected limits makes me think I’m not lazy
  • It makes me know that I can reach beyond my comfort zone
  • It affords me the opportunity to be part of a variety of projects
  • It’s exciting both to participate and to complete


  • I learn of many new writers that I might not otherwise find
  • One common interest brings people together to learn about each other
  • Participants share resources that may be new to me
  • Participants may actually become a resource
  • There’s the chance to share something that others may find useful

It Adds up to Growth

1. Create on command.
It’s important for me to step outside my comfort zone. On my own, it’s really hard to do, and these projects help me toward that. On my own, I do give myself projects. So, I’m somewhat practiced at making the demand on myself. What’s a stretch with the poem a day challenges is the daily posting.

2. Post daily.
The first time I wrote a poem a day, it was a private event that took place solely in the pages of my journal, in 2003. Back then, I didn’t even have or consider having a blog. Fast forward to today and I’m writing and posting often in the same day.

3. Edit on the fly.
Daily posting tasks me to focus and edit really fast. That takes some getting used to. I have to find just the right everything to be willing to let it go. And it feels like I’m forcing my mind to sift through the much for the trinkets that are pleasing.

The speed is unsettling on some levels, and so I’m learning to ignore that as it’s mostly fear that hangs me up.

4. Confidence to comment.
I’m still working up the courage to leave comments more than I do. I appreciate feedback, so I want to do that for others. I’m coming to that. Baby steps.

The Helpful Side of Fear

Fear has it’s uses, to be sure. It keeps me from hitting the “Publish” button, without review of what I’ve written. I’m compelled to really look at the lines, read aloud to hear the flow, and recheck words and everything. Sometimes I have to sleep before I can finish because I try to never publish when I’m all bleary-eyed. If I forget what I’m writing in mid-phrase, then I need to crash for a bit.

As long as I find benefit I’ll keep participating in writing projects. Why do you participate in group projects?

About Shari Smothers

Welcome to Telling Stories, my creative writing space. My name is Shari Smothers. Poems help me to understand the world and to explain my world to others. They're my premier story telling tools. There's more to come, so please share with me through reading, commenting, emailing. Learn more about Shari here. And do come again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge