Shut Up and Write!

How about taking an hour out of your week–maybe even a couple of times a week–to dedicate yourself to writing those thank you notes you owe? Or that letter to a grieving friend? Maybe even a special letter you’ve been meaning for months to write to your mother? Or how about a scene for that Great American Novel that you can never seem to find the time start?

I’m not talking about email or texting. I’m talking about like with pen and paper . . . although a keyboard on a laptop works great for that memoir  or novel, too.

A relatively new movement in the academic community–Shut Up and Write–deserves the attention of a wider global audience. From my limited search, it appears the craze got started in San Francisco but is catching on among academics everywhere. I’m sure there are other groups that I’m not aware of that practice it as well.

The idea is simple: get together as a group in a coffee house or convenient gathering place and write in silence for an hour. Afterwards, enjoy coffee or a glass of wine or your favorite beverage and catch up on news with the group. You can even do it virtually with a group on the Internet.

There’s no need for this movement to be confined to academics. It’s really an idea whose time has come for all of us, especially in this new world where “writing” often amounts to two thumbs creating 140 characters . . . and while holding a conversation.

You’d be surprised how much quality writing you can complete over time. I’m talking about the writing you’ve been wanting to do but never-seem-to-get-around-to-it. So let’s get started: find a group of supporters and do it virtually by computer or face-to-face in a favorite meeting place for one hour at a regularly scheduled day and time.

At least once a week, Let’s Shut Up and Write!

* * *

James Marshall Smith practiced the skill of shutting up and writing frequently and the result was his debut thriller Silent Source, an international finalist for the 2015 Grand Master Award. You can find his novel on Amazon.

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