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We’ve reached the last day of our spring writing groups at ModernWell, which marks six “school years” together for many on Thursdays and four years for some in the Tuesday group. As one of our members said so eloquently this week, “Even the people who came later seem to have been with us since the beginning. It’s like we were holding the space for them.” And that includes the people who were able to join us from out-of-town when we moved our classes online for the year. 

Speaking of “holding space,” that expression describes exactly what our ModernWell groups do. We are not a classic writing class. There are no “how to” moments. Julie and I are facilitators, not teachers in the standard sense. We start with time to catch up on everyone’s creative attempts since we last met, including what everyone has been reading, listening to, and watching. Then we write on the spot after reading a short essay or even a few sentences that serve as a prompt, and we share what we wrote.

If you sign up for one of our groups, we’re not going to spend much time talking to you about the use of adverbs and “show vs. tell.” The most important facilitating we do is hold space for your identity as a writer. We hold space for you as a creative person, a person who deserves to take time for an endeavor outside of your regular job, outside of your family life, and even outside of the identity your longtime friends may have for you. When you sit around our table or in one of our Zoom squares, you are a writer. When you’re away from us the rest of the week, you carry that creative energy of the group with you. We are the voice on your shoulder saying you deserve to write that story, make that necklace, paint that canvas, and record that podcast. 

For our in-class writing prompt in the final spring class, Julie and I asked the group what they get out of showing up each week. I wanted to share some of the answers. 

If you’ve been in ModernWell while our group is in session, maybe now you have a better sense what all the noise and laughter has been coming out of the conference room. We are creating magic in there. And I’ve been honored to be partnered with Julie in facilitating everything on that list above and more.

If you’d like to be part of a writing group this summer, Nina has a few openings in her virtual “Writing About Friendship” class. Click here for more info!


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