Meredith Allen Connor: This is the first time I’ve done a blog. I’ve enjoyed it – the commitment, the different perspectives on writing and the different processes we each have, the comments and most importantly the knowledge that I am not alone in this journey. Writing is so solitary and I live in a very small town. It’s wonderful to be able to connect to other writers. I’ve also found other blogs and authors that I enjoy through this blog – both from our guest bloggers and various comments made. We are a varied group of women writers and we each bring something unique to this blog and I love that.
Peggy Staggs: Gem State Writers is my first blogging experience. I’ve written lots of articles for newsletters, but a blog is different. Not only are others reading it, they’re making comments. I do love the feedback. I enjoy the exercise of coming up with a new topic every other week. Sometimes it’s a challenge and sometimes the topic presents itself. I always worry whether my contribution provides some insight and help to those who drop by.
Having a set day to blog gives me a taste of what it’s like to make a deadline. I’m a stresser. I have to have a month or two in the can or anxiety sets in. A year later, I’m not any less apprehensive, but I am getting better with pumping out the blogs, so the stress balances with productivity.
Speaking of balance, when I’m considering what topic to tackle next, I remember Janis. Her blogs are deep and meaningful and I have to follow that act. I’ve decided to be the fluffy sweet stuff that follows the rich chocolate cake of her blogs. My therapist would be so proud.
Clarissa Southwick: For me, the best part of blogging is the sense of community it builds. I’ve met some fascinating people through the readers and guest bloggers. I love how the GS writers support one another both on and offline.
Mary Vine: I was surprised and honored to be asked to join Gem State Writers last spring. At first, I knew it would be hard to get a blog written every two weeks, but I had a few saved that I could use in a lurch. When I ran out of the extras, I learned that I can write new blog posts every two weeks as the more I created, the more I was able to do (especially if I had my mind on a topic and started a few days ahead). I love the name and have enjoyed getting to know the others in the group through their blog posts. I like reading all of the comments each day, and have met new folks; Florence is one who comes to mind. I’ve learned more about the writing craft from the daily bloggers. I’ve learned that being part of a blogging group is a far less lonely venture and makes for a more interesting site. I’ve learned that asking a guest blogger is not as simple as one would think as you have less power over getting a blog in a timely manner. It’s been a great year!
Liz Fredericks: I’ve never participated in a blog before joining Gem State Writers. Heck, I don’t even keep my Facebook page up-to-date (and I hear plenty on that point from my daughters). I’m fairly reserved and the ‘post everything about your life’ environ is sometimes shocking to me. So, I’ve made an effort to include stuff from my professional life as well as a few personal journeys. Actually, though I hope to have contributed something to others, I’ve probably benefited to an even greater degree.
It’s an injustice to attempt a summary of the depth and variety of my colleagues’ contributions. We’ve had blogs on nearly every aspect of writing and publishing as well as rich content on the region and its history. Each of us contributed a personal take on our physical community as well as the communal genre from which we each draw inspiration and to which we direct our efforts.
I expected to learn from the other GSW folks . . . I was totally overwhelmed and thrilled to learn so much from commenters. We’ve heard from people across the country and built new relationships from their generosity in stopping by and reading the occasional post.
This is my first attempt at blogging and it won’t be my last because it’s kept me writing when it seemed easier (and more politic) to give up. Thank you everyone for this past year.
Lynn Mapp: I can’t believe it’s been a year.
I’m going to be honest. I reluctantly served as president of a local writers group. The reluctance stemmed from having to write an article every other month. That was every other month, stress on every other. With Gem State Writers, I write an article every other week. I am gritting my teeth.
Writing had fallen off my “to do” list.
Dealing with the grief of my son’s death drained me. Getting through each day is a task.
I blog to force myself to write.
During the past year, I’ve learned I can generate an idea and write on the subject.
I take my commitment to the other members of Gem State Writers seriously. More importantly, I love reading what the members of the group post. They inspire, motivate, and share.
It’s been a good experience for me.
Johanna Harness: Being part of a group blog is great for me because it holds me accountable. I’ve blogged for several years, but never on a regular schedule. Usually I’d blog only when I couldn’t fit my thoughts into a 140-character tweet. If I kept getting asked the same question, I’d blog about it. My experience was very casual. Now that there are others expecting a blog post from me every two weeks, my writing is a lot more even and I’m building up a body of essays I can use for other purposes.
I recently used one post as a writing sample and I turned another into a longer essay for a contest. I’ve also started keeping a file of ideas for blog posts and I use that file for other writing as well. The biggest reason the experience has been so positive is because the people I’m blogging with are amazing. I’m so lucky to have been asked to join and I’m looking forward to another year.
Janis McCurry: The first twelve months of Gem State Writers passed so quickly. When Clarissa first broached the subject of a blog group, I thought, “Me? What do I have to say that anyone will be interested in?” You see, I was born in Boise, love it, and I don’t believe the grass is greener anywhere else. But, that means I’m not a world-traveler who has relocated as a military child like at least two of our members. Neither do I speak multiple languages like two of the members. I haven’t lived overseas and been a dog sled driver like one of our members. I’m not a musician or a photographer like two of our members. I don’t have the sacred responsibility of teaching today’s youth like three of our bloggers. I’m not published like three of our bloggers. I’m a writer who hasn’t heard the call.
I like the commitment of blogging every other week. I also like receiving comments about the subjects that fascinate me. Or enrage me. I like the communication and learning from people I may never meet. I always hope my contributions make a reader think just a little more about the topic. It’s important to me that we’re all connected.
Happy Birthday, Gem State Writers!