The Sisterhood of the Travelling Manuscripts

Community seems to be a buzzword these days, but it’s a good word even though it runs the risk of being over-used and under-estimated. Paul David Tripp, my distance course lecturer, keeps saying that heart-deep change happens in community. I think he’s onto something. Sometime when I grow up and can process deep, profound books, I want to read Jean Vanier’s Community and Growth.

Until then, I am part of a small writing community in which good change is taking place in our writing skills. We are 6 ladies scattered over the globe, having many things in common but especially our love of words. Some of us are published writers, some are on the way. We use the old-fashioned method of postage, paper, envelopes, wherein each submits a manuscript for the rest to critique.

There are large helpings of encouragement, suggestions, and affirmations. A letter accompanies each person’s submission, and those are the parts I enjoy almost more than the creative writing pieces. We share our hearts and care and support each other’s life assignments.

We have 7 days to process the packet when it arrives. I failed badly this time, and sent it off a month late. My only justification is that it was a crazy month, and I’ve never kept it so long before, and will do my best not to let it happen again.

I’ve heard of some groups who do this kind of thing electronically but I do love the tangible paper, the handwritten letters, the assorted stationary–and the thunk on the floor as the postman drops the packet in my letter slot. I’ve been part of groups like this for over 10 years. I’ll never forget one of the first groups I was in, when the leader drew a red line under all my passive verbs. There were LOTS of them! But it was the best thing for me, and it gives me authority to gently point out others’ passive verbs.

A friend and I started this present group about eight years ago, inviting our friends whom we knew would be interested. I’ve dropped out of most of my former groups, but it will take something drastic to persuade me to give up this group. Start your own group! You and/or your writing may change in wonderful, significant ways.

One thought on “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Manuscripts

  1. I like that idea. I fear I would not be a help to anyone, though. I would so enjoy thier stories but I don’t know enough to critique them. Maybe after a couple years…

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