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Are you the type of writer that feels motivated by participating in writing communities? Do you find it helpful to set goals alongside other authors who are on the same journey as you are? Some members might focus on a different genre or be at a different skill level, but they all share a passion for creativity and a love of the written word and they all want one another to succeed.
If this sounds like the type of experience you might be interested in, then I’d like to introduce you to Payam Salehi, the founder of Anam Cara, a vibrant writing community for those who believe writing can be far more joyful and productive when surrounded by community.
Anam Cara offers thoughtfully designed 5-Week Online Writing Quests, which include award-winning authors as guides, accountability buddies, weekly writing lessons, secret rewards, and more. As the founder of Shortcuts for Writers, I’m always on the lookout for opportunities that my Book Editing Blueprint students, editing clients, and Facebook group followers might be interested in.
When I heard about Anam Cara, I thought it sounded really interesting, so I hopped on a Zoom call with Payam, and I later spoke with a member of a previous 5-Week Online Writing Quest to get a better understanding of how it all worked. After learning more about the program, I felt like it was well worth relaying to my followers.
So, first, I want to tell you about the next Writing Quest and offer you a coupon code. Second, you can read my in-depth interview with Payam below, and I’ll share how you can contact him directly if you have further questions.
Check Out The Next 5-Week Online Writing Quest.
July 14-August 18, 2020
Our friends at Anam Cara want to welcome you with open arms into their vibrant writing community for their next 5-week Online Writing Quest. You’ll set your own writing goal, be matched with an accountability buddy, unlock secret rewards, learn from an award-winning author and guest speakers, and most importantly, meet others who believe writing can be far more joyful and productive when surrounded by soul friends. Guest speakers include New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi, author of The Henna Artist, and Irving Ruan, a writer at The New Yorker.
Your guide on this journey will be Faith Adiele, an award-winning author, professor, and speaker. She has been featured in The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine’s 5 Women to Learn From, on NPR, and has written/starred in a documentary on PBS. Educated at Harvard, the Iowa Writers Workshop in Fiction, and the Nonfiction Writing Program at Iowa, Faith Adiele has lived, taught, and presented around the globe. Her memoir about becoming the first black Buddhist nun of Thailand, Meeting Faith (W.W. Norton), received numerous accolades including a PEN Open Book Award for Best Memoir and 16 artists’ residencies. She has also previously founded the nation’s first workshop for travel writers of color through VONA/Voices and wrote/starred in a documentary that’s been featured on PBS titled, “My Journey Home.”
Reserve your spot and use code “shortcut” for a $20 discount. The last Quest sold out, so sign up soon! Sign up here.
Interview With Founder Payam Salehi
Writing a book is solitary work. How can doing a Writing Quest help?
While writing a book—or essays, blog posts, poetry, whatever it may be—is inherently an internal process, we’ve found through doing these Quests that the biggest boost of productivity and fun comes from finding others in the same boat as you. Having a support system can make all the difference in turning writing from a hair-pulling experience into a source of joy.
In this Quest, you choose your own 5-week writing goal, and we’ll surround you with an expert instructor and an incredibly supportive community to provide you with the motivation and tools to help you hit your goal.
For example, we match everyone with an accountability buddy based on their writing level, genre, and personality fit and place people into teams. In these teams, they give each other constant feedback and help one another reach their goals and unlock secret rewards, which range from silly encouragement videos to private, 30-minute calls with professional editors and authors.
We celebrated so many amazing achievements in the last quest—one person wrote 20,000 words, another launched a new blog—which we think is a testament to how much everyone supported each other in both doing their work and having fun.
Some writers might not have considered seeking accountability partners and other writers to share their work with. Why do you think it’s beneficial to make these connections?
There’s something really powerful about helping someone else reach their goals and feel proud of their accomplishments. It provides a sense of fulfillment and connection that you might not find as easily in other aspects of life.
We actually heard from one of the participants in the last Quest that she was initially skeptical about the accountability buddy process, but after it ended, she was a “convert.” She told us that she learned how to ask for feedback, how to be more open, and how to see potential in herself that she hadn’t previously felt. Another has said that she was able to improve her non-fiction writing by being matched with an accountability buddy who was working on short stories, which gave her a fresh perspective she wouldn’t have otherwise.
A number of folks have messaged us in the weeks since the last Quest saying they are still meeting with their buddies weekly—that’s exactly the kind of relationship we’re trying to cultivate!
What does a Writing Quest offer that might be hard to find in a free community? What do you think the role is of a free community vs. a paid one?
There are definitely great aspects of being part of a free online writing group, but generally, its biggest benefit is also its biggest drawback: flexibility. When something is free, it’s easier to bail or not make it a priority.
We attract a committed group of people who show up to make progress on their writing goals and to be there for another person—an excellent complement to belonging to free groups. We find that having a financial and time commitment creates skin in the game and keeps the momentum going. And each quest is 5 weeks—long enough to make some significant progress, but not so long that it feels like an overwhelming commitment.
Each week during your Quest, I noticed your instructor provides weekly writing lessons. Can you elaborate on what is covered?
First of all, you’re going to be in good hands — our Instructor or what we like to call “Quest Guide,” Faith Adiele, is an award-winning author, writing professor, and speaker, and she has been featured in The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine’s 5 Women to Learn From, on NPR, and has written and starred in a documentary on PBS.
And because of her range of experiences, she’s able to speak on many different aspects of the writing process—there’s something in there for everyone. Participants have mentioned how much they learned about new areas to explore more.
Faith creates short, practical writing lessons that folks can immediately integrate into their work, ranging from craft lessons, like how to use our 11 senses to improve your writing, to strategy lessons, like how to develop strong writing habits and actionable steps to take to get your work published. She often has folks bring their writing to our sessions so they can immediately apply the lessons to their work.
And on top of all she brings to the table, we also feature exciting guest speakers. In the past we brought in Vanessa Hua from the SF Chronicle, and we have even more up our sleeves for the next Quest.
What do you think makes your Writing Quests unique?
There are so many great resources out there, whether you’re watching videos about writing or getting inspired by other writers. But this is a place where you come to write, to show up for yourself and for others.
There are three key elements to our Writing Quests that make up the support system we’re building: An award-winning author provides weekly lessons to help you fine-tune your craft, accountability buddies encourage you and give you feedback, and weekly secret rewards keep you motivated and add in a dose of joy.
We know that writing is hard work, but you don’t have to do it alone. There’s a community being built for you, a space where people will be every day, writing, sharing, and encouraging. And when you do that with others over and over, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it can send you straight through to a published piece (or whatever your goal may be).
Join the next Writing Quest July 14-August 18
Remember to use the code “shortcut” for a $20 discount. The last Quest sold out, so sign up soon!
Sign up here. Contact Payam if you have any questions: Payam@JoinAnamCara.com.
FREEBIE: Also be sure to check out Anam Cara’s free round-up of 15 Must-Have Writing Resources!
Stacy Juba, the founder of Shortcuts for Writers, is a freelance editor and online course creator who teaches authors how to simplify the self-editing process and fit their writing goals into a busy life. Her books include the Storybook Valley chick lit series and the Hockey Rivals young adult sports novels.
Sign up for her free, on-demand masterclass, How to Create Your Editing Game Plan and Fast-Track Your Book: 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid.