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I am never sorry when I gather with a group of people who push my thinking. For the next two weeks, I am spending my days with such a group as we collaborate on a book. We spend the mornings writing and the afternoons giving and receiving feedback.
Setting the cultural norm for the afternoon of feedback, David Bloome, director of the Columbus Area Writing Project, told us that as writers, we have the right to be pushed. He likened our work to havruta, the pairing of rabbinical students who are given the tasks to listen, question and challenge each other to deeply understand a passage or text.
We have the right to be pushed.
We understand that when giving feedback, we are pushing each other to gain a deeper understanding.
What is story we want to tell?
How do we position ourselves?
What is the tone we want to set?
How do we show the important work we do?
It puts a new spin on the writer's conference.
Our work this afternoon was deep, thoughtful, mind-boggling, and energizing. Questions spurred more questions. Laughter erupted as people clamped hands over their mouths because it wasn't their turn to talk, or jumped up and down in their seats as they thought of something new to say. Our conversation was so good, it continued on Voxer after we got home.
Groups like this feed my soul. These colleagues of mine who are also my friends help me grow in so many ways. I am confident that all of us will be pushed to deeper understandings (and probably some completely new understandings) as we work together the next few weeks.