Life has these ways of breaking down everything we know.
When you’re in enough space to be high-minded and romantic about it, each “break” is really a miraculous feat.
When you’re young or just suffering through a struggle that life has cast upon you, each break is a victimizing blow performed with heartbreaking precision.
That’s how it is.
That’s uncontrollable nature of life.
Even when we’re not watching, life is tossing us about like little pawn pieces. I would say that’s a good thing, but that’s like saying, “It’s a good thing the sky is blue. It’s a good thing that the Earth rotates around the sun.” More than a matter of choice or opinion, the daunting and burdensome fact is that, in life, we possess little control.
And yet, the good part, I’d counter, is that life’s nature provides the human soul with a process of constant refinement: if you pay attention, what you really want (and truly need) will eventually become understood.
Life gives you endless cues to grow and learn and uncover and awaken every step of your journey.
Whether you believe the human being is born unshaped, new and with full potential or, rather, born already-shaped and “new again” and that life is a matter of uncovering who we already are, we can agree that nothing in life is static. Life is eternal, swirling change, and so is everything in it your life, like the seasons.
And from that constant process of refining and breaking — whether “miraculous” or heart-shattering — this experience we share together is a wild ebb and flow of an organism untamed and a species forever curious and longing for what’s more, just beyond the horizon.
New York City is truly a microcosm of that.
She, like life itself, will force you to confront everything you think you know with heartbreaking precision and accuracy; there is no avoidance in a city so full and rich of experience that the experiences eventually choose you, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, to such a point that every want and need and soulful longing is questioned — and before you can come up for breath you say,
“What the hell, man! Give me a God-damned break, already!”
That when Cityfolk head out for a Long Island vacation. An up-state excursion. A weekend retreat from the noise and bustle.
And so it is when you live in a place like New York City. I’m sure other cities and environments on earth are like that, too: a high-pressure, super-condensed process of nonstop refinement that presses sludge into oil and burns unpolished stones into diamonds.
In some ways, big city living is a blessing like that.
You can escape it. Hit pause. Take a break or go on vacation.
But you can’t really escape life, itself — or all of its constant, swirling process of refinement and breaking.
When you move into the mental, emotional, physical or spiritual space of the most ideal environment in which you can grow, honor your needs, find peace, explore, understand, and eventually thrive.
This is the skillful balance of creating the environment in which you flourish.
What is a ‘Flourishing Environment’?
Imagine creating for yourself the ideal space where you can flourish on a multitude of levels:
- the personal level that makes you feel the most you that you’ve ever been;
- the relationships level to honor your loved ones, meet new people, make friends, share conversations with peers, maybe even find your soul-mate;
- the health level that honors your body with rich foods and exercise and stress-free happiness;
- the business level that frees you with better finances to do whatever you will.
And, there’s plenty more.
You discover what levels matter to you by first asking, “What do you truly value?”
And asking “What factors, levels or influences does your soul crave and desire so deeply that they are indistinguishable from your physical needs for food, water, shelter, community?”
That is what I call “your flourishing environment.”
This environment is not alone a place that can be sought out and found. It depends upon you to craft it appropriately: by your choosing, with a bit of work and building, through the refining process of understanding what you want and need — and the constant practice of honoring them.
Such an environment not only helps to provide you with what you desire, but provides you with the space required to flourish.
In your ideal environment, you can grow, learn, develop and self-activate — in perfect alignment with your wants, needs, and values.
In the last year, New York City provided me with a catalyst of learning and personal growth to help me understand my wants and needs better than ever.
But as my business started to dry up — over three years and after tons of tried-and-failed projects and solopreneur ventures — I was left feeling out of options.
That’s when an encouraging conversation with a friend — her name is Jenny, you might know her — reminded me: in an effort to return to my writer’s roots, I needed to create the very environment that I want to live in.
I personally needed to mold an environment that would support and sustain my needs, while keeping the space wherein I could learn, grow, and flourish.
And what I realized was that creating a unique writers’ group wouldn’t provide that for me, alone.
It would create the environment in which other writers like me could flourish, too.
What, Exactly, is the Literati?
The Literati is a digital environment for writers that fulfills writers’ basic needs (like writing more and writing better) while providing them with a safe, encouraging space to flourish.
That space consists of supportive, like-minded peers, coming together in a unique and refreshingly positive writers’ community.
The Literati writers’ group is my response to personally needing an environment to support me as a writer, as a leader, as a solopreneur — but further, the Literati is my response to the dire need that I have come to see in many writing communities, especially in the online world:
Writers who feel isolated, alone, misunderstood, and constantly subjected to the “tortured artist routine” that sabotages their personal wants, basic needs, and the desire to experience a cathartic journey in life through writing.
The Literati is an environment I have created for a writer like you to flourish in your life.
An online writers’ group is just that: a group of writers who interact online in private, shared spaces, on our own schedules. We primarily come together in a private Facebook group for most of our discussions, idea-sharing and peer-learning opportunities.
It’s where we meet one another, share our stories, discuss our goals, ask questions when we’re struggling, offer inspiration to one another and help each other out as we pursue personal projects, goals and dreams.
And that’s what many writers’ groups usually do.
But the Literati is different.
Our writers are different:
Literati writers not only love to write, they share a value that too many writers, artists and creatives often neglect: that in life, as in writing, “The journey is the reward.”
Literati writers believe that the creative experience — for work or pleasure, for passion or business — should not be a thing of constant self-sabotage and self-torture; that struggle is not a badge of honor and writers’ block, suffering, loneliness and isolation are choices, not “facts” of the writer’s life.
How the Literati is Different
This writers’ group exists to prove that the “tortured artist routine” is a lie. And we really enjoy shattering that mold.
Last week when we reopened our doors to new members for the first time since September, new members were saying things like,
“…this hub is already delivering on its promise to support its members!”
Our writers welcome one another with open arms because when someone new joins the Literati, every member recognizes that he or she shares the deep, soulful beliefs that our entire community believes in:
That writing is a thing of artistry, a powerful means of self-activation and shows us that we each possess the power to create change in our world.
Our small and growing community of writers (with 8 added last week, now around 35 members) are freelance copywriters, students, self-employed bloggers, homemakers, corporate-exiles and 9-to-5’ers.
Our writers write poetry, fiction (NaNoWriMo), client website copy, ebooks for their blogs, first books, fifth books, are creating affiliate marketing websites for themselves or rocking tons of freelance client work.
What unites the diverse interests of Literati writers is shared belief that the journey is reward.
Literati writers value the art of writing deeply — on personal and professional levels. Writing is not only a passion to a Literati writer, it’s a high form of artistic communication. Through writing, we experience depth and nuance and a stronger understanding of life itself.
We write not only for our blogs, for books and for business: Literati writers write because it makes us feel purpose-driven, happy, at peace, and truly fulfilled.
That means that our writers want to deeply experience and enjoy the creative lives they lead.
And that’s where I come in.
It’s my job to not only find the right writers who share this value, but to personally create, cultivate and guide that experience every week and month of the year.
Finding the right members is one part of the job. By growing our community slowly and steadily with the ideal members, the community’s positive and supportive culture then kicks in to takes over. Amazingly insightful discussions pop up on a daily basis. Questions arise, and explorations ensue. You express a struggle as a writer, and a few others tell you that they share the same struggle — you don’t feel so alone any more.
The community sustains itself.
But the private Facebook group is only one part of what makes this digital writers’ community so special.
How the Literati Works
In a sentence:
The Literati combines some digital “structures” with writing prompts in your inbox, a private Facebook community with great people and fun events like live calls, workshops, interviews and more. I also provide you with a lot of one-on-one support whenever you need it.
Really, it’s that simple.
What we do can be broken down into three categories: Interaction, Curriculum and Support.
Facebook Community :: Interaction is the cornerstone of any community. The Literati primarily interacts on a private Facebook group where we house our discussions, explorations, and support one another.
What I’ve discovered is that when you take the time to engage in conversations with great people on topics you love and care about, you learn and grow, effortlessly.
Meaningful conversations about the topics that you care about will help you find greater clarity, direction and understanding on those subjects — even when you’re not looking for it.
That’s the power of a community like the Literati.
Writing Prompts :: Every Sunday morning, you receive a Writing Prompt that contains lessons, exercises, stories, reminders to write or invitations to engage a topic for discussion in our Facebook group. Writing prompts serve to remind you to be writing and also fuel you with important ideas and messages that you can apply to your life, your writing projects, and your goals on a personally-applicable level.
Accountability Check-In’s :: I check in with members every week to keep them accountable to their goals, whether their goals are personal, professional, big picture dreams or “right now” financial needs. I’m here to do my best, to share my experience, to offer my knowledge, to connect them to resources and people that will help them. Our community is the other important half of what will keep you accountable to your goals :)
Interactive Workshops :: I host conference calls with the entire community every month on specific topics like “How Gratitude Reveals Your Writing Goals” to help you work through a stronger understanding of your goals; learn new skills or “how to” an important business or branding subject.
Live Author Interviews :: Every month, we interview a special guest author, blogger, or expert in their field to share stories, insights and expertise with our entire community tuning in live on the call. You get the opportunity to ask questions of our interviewees, too — an opportunity that’s worth hundreds of dollars. Last quarter, we interviewed three amazing women: author Jenny Blake, author Nacie Carson and biz-branding expert Rhiannon Llewellyn.
1:1 Writing Workshops :: A new feature in 2013, these pre-recorded hour-long workshops are self-guided and help teach you practical skills and tips on a wide variety of writing topics, featuring a special guest instructor who shares his or her unique insights and expertise.
Community Support :: The Literati community is a powerful support system in itself. Our community consists of amazing, unique, really fun members who you’ll learn from and grow alongside.
Office Hours :: I reserve a block of time every other Friday to chat with you, one-on-one, on any questions, goals, ideas or struggles you have. That’s part of me supporting you personally and individually — no matter what your specific needs or goals are. As a connector, I’m always good for helping you find the resources, people and ideas you need to flourish.
Peer-Reviewing :: A feature we’re diving deeper into in 2013, the Literati’s welcoming culture helps individual writers improve their writing and works-in-progress through peer reviewing. What if you could share your imperfect pieces with other writers and, instead of being torn to shreds by their judgment and criticism, actually receive constructive help, new ideas, fresh perspectives and earnest guidance?
What’s New in the Literati in 2013?
New Monthly Themes :: The Literati now has monthly themes to ground and center all of our our explorations. This month, our theme is Invention and Reinvention.
A New Digital Writer’s Guide :: Our members instantly receive a new welcoming guide to help them become acclimated and find their way around our community — even giving them some early homework to complete on Facebook :) The guide is called Igniting Your Writing: How to Jumpstart Your Literati Journey.
New Members’ Portal Website :: We have a new private website where members they can read archives of all of our writing prompts, download past interviews and workshops (and their transcripts), as well as find all of the important links across the web where we Literati hang out and play.
New Monthly Curriculum Structure :: The Literati now has a new rotating four-week schedule that provides a simple but flexible structure for our members. Each week has designated intentions with specific calls-to-action and points of learning that will serve to help you create positive habits and routines.
More Interviews, Workshops and Opportunities :: We have three more Live Author Interviews lined up this quarter, three new Interactive Workshops with yours truly and three new 1:1 Writing Workshops to help bolster your writing skills. Plus, you get archives of all of our past workshops and calls.
Expanding the Literati Team :: The Literati team has expanded in 2013 with a new managing assistant, Katie Haigh, who will be helping our community throughout the months ahead including sharing her own unique writing exercises every month and and more alongside yours truly!
In-Person Events :: New in-person events are also on the horizon for 2013, like member-led regional meetups with fellow Literati members and other local non-Literati writers who want to connect with great people in-person. We also have a plan to start organizing a unique Yoga-Writing Retreat in 2013!
The Literati Provides You With an Environment that Works.
That’s Why I’m Inviting You to Join Us:
The environment that you need to support you in the pursuits of your goals might be a lot closer than you think.
I had to remember that last year. That’s why I created the Literati — so you could join an environment that would support you. And, better yet, I’m here to personally help you along the way — because I want for you what I want for myself, freedom, purpose, passion and to “live and love” the writer’s journey.
Our community is already looking forward to meeting you, hearing your story and supporting you every step of your journey.
I hope you’ll join us!
P.S. – If you have any questions or you’re still wondering if *you* would be a fit for the Literati, just email me. I’m happy to answer your questions. We can even set up a time to chat on the phone for a few minutes.
P.P.S. – Our doors will close at the end of January until May (at the earliest).