Photo: It’s a cold as cold can be. It’s so cold, the mail won’t run. It’s so cold, you ain’t s’posed to breathe deep. It’s so cold, six people have perished. It’s so, so cold. When the blue cold of winter comes, I hold on to the sunrise in the summer time and the good warmth that the skin still remembers. I pray for its return (it’s inevitable, but it’s still good to do so). Having lived for 10 days without heat in this house, I know I only felt the briefest discomfort, but I still remember how sad and frustrating it felt to be cold in my own home. I pray for people who live with heat insecurity and don’t have oil or gas tonight. I pray for people who are homeless. I pray for people who live alone and are at risk. Please, Dear Reader, remember your neighbors. Remember the people who are cold today. Extend your warmth today and all throughout this winter.
Believe it or not, I’m writing this blog post and also running a digital Write-in. That is a silly sentence to write, but it’s true. I guess I should explain.
I’ve been a participant of NaNoWriMo for almost a decade. The region where I’m registered was in need of a Municipal Liaison for over a year, and I decided that NaNo had given me a lot, so it was time to give back. I signed up and earned the position. Serving as a Municipal Liaison was a lot of work… a lot of work. But it was big fun, too. I met all sorts of interesting people, each of them at a different point on the Writer’s Path. When the month was over, my Co-Liaison and I sent out a survey to figure out how the month went and how we could be supportive of their stories in the coming year. Many people replied that they wanted programming in the “off” months. And a Facebook page. And maybe a newsletter. My Co-Liaison wasn’t up for all that… but I was. So… here I am.
In the past few weeks, I’ve learned MailChimp (not so hard), made a Facebook Group (Facebook is absolutely the devil, but Groups is a robust tool), and made contact with six local libraries, scheduling one physical Write-in a month from now until November (with only July and August off!). I put together the Group first before sending out the newsletter to the 30 people who originally signed up for it. I refreshed the reports page several times right after I sent it out. How many opens? How many clicks? How many unsubscribes? Everyone opened, no one unsubscribed, but only a few clicked through. Ultimately, nine people have joined the group.
I have so many feelings about this small little something I’ve got going here. I’m reminded that teeny tiny things can often grow into large, beautiful things over time. Patience is the virtue I’m always working on, and it’s really hard to practice in a climate of instant everything. Over the past 2 weeks, as I’ve tried to populate the group with opportunities for digital write-ins, links to opportunities to submit work, and funny little memes or ditties, I’m finally starting to see people respond. I’m excited and weirded out by it all. How do I nurture and grow this small, precious thing?
If that wasn’t enough, my Grub Street class resulted in the creation of a serious writing group that’s going to start meeting twice a month. Our first meeting is next Friday. I’ve got to have something ready to send them to read and critique by Monday at the latest. Probably Friday would be better. The hard deadline has been a wonderful little poke at the back of my mind all week, and I have been doing a good bit of writing as a result. I’m still nervous, though. Will I be able to keep up? Will I be able to produce good, high-quality work? Can I make time for quality critique for the other members of the group?
This isn’t a Quiet Thoughts post, but I’m reminded that good things start small and grow. All of my favorite things were small once and were cultivated slowly, with a patient hand. I’m also reminded that a degree of nerves is a good thing. I’d rather be nervous and do better than my best, than go in over-confident and fall flat on my face. Lord knows I might do that anyway. I hope not.
It’s the end of January. What small, yet significant things are you starting this year, Dear Reader? I hope you packed your bravery with you when you left last year and entered this one. We each need to bring some with us for whatever the year has in store. This is a great time to unpack a little bit of it (not all of it. There is a lot of year ahead of us) and use it to try something new. You never know what will stick, quicken, and grow.
See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.