“Hello, I saw you, I know you, I knew you, I think I can remember your name, name, Hello, I’m sorry, I lost myself, I think I thought you were someone else” Bill Berry / Peter Buck / Michael Mills / Michael Stipe
Today I was in the library and I found myself joining, of all things a writing group. In this social situation, I had to recall the most important thing.
Here is the key to socializing with others. If you can remember this one thing and pay strict attention to the ramifications of the tenet you can get along with anybody. Here it is: Always realize that whoever you are talking to in that person’s life that person is extremely important. Or in other words, all people put self very high on their priority list. While most people put self as being number one this is not universal. But I have never met a person who did not consider self extremely important.
Being the first time at the group I adopted a mellow disposition. If I was a regular member or in a familiar territory, I would have been more aggressive and outgoing. Instead, I allowed the others to conduct their business as usual. I felt I was treated finely and made welcome. I contrast this experience with another one several months ago. I was visiting a local congregation of the Church of Christ. My wife was in the hospital and as such, I had a little freedom. I got to the congregation early and I was sitting with my friend who was another visitor. My friend had visited the congregation several times but this was my first time attending services. Don’t you know some people walked in and completely ignored us? I mean I didn’t even get a simple hello let alone an introduction and a welcome.
At the writing group, we sat around a large table. There were about a dozen of us. The first thing order of business was to introduce ourselves and speak a little bit about our writing. I took the opportunity to write everybody’s name down. Studies show that the most pleasant word to a person is their own name. Being new in a group and knowing everybody’s name makes a good impression if people are watching. If they’re not looking at you they are still pleased if you know their name.
Tip number two goes along with the most important thing, and that is to be swift to listen. A good communicator is always a good listener. First of all, listening helps one to accurately understand what is on a person’s mind. Secondly, if you go along with number one, listening feeds the importance of the individual. After all, if the person is very important it naturally follows that you should pay attention to them, even hang on their every word.
Group dynamics are interesting and sometimes extremely complex phenomena. In this case, the common factor to those gathered was the shared interest in writing. After several minutes of listening and observation, it became apparent that the writers were only different levels. Some it seemed were professionals or at least aspiring professionals and others only had a less serious passing interest.
In the end, I enjoyed my time and it served as an excellent distraction taking my mind off of my troubles. This week, as you can see by the reemergence of this blog I have gotten back into the swing of writing. I have taken out an old manuscript that is nearing completion and began to reread and edit the piece. Trying to finish a piece that I have already invested a lot of time is a good self-motivator. The desire to bring something to completion and put the official ‘done’ stamp upon it is persuasive.
Perhaps this group will lead to something great and by that, I mean a publishing opportunity. Six months ago I had worked very hard to finish two novels I was working on simultaneously. After that, I made a failed attempt to find an agent. The lack of success discouraged me and in all honesty I needed a rest. Once more I feel the creative juices flowing and the spirits of optimism rocketing high in the sky. The edges of the universe are the limits as I look forward to going back to my life of writing.
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