Tag Archives: Just Write Chicago

Crisp, finally


It’s starting to feel like fall. We didn’t have what you’d call a warm summer, but the last week of August reminded me what “dog days” used to feel like. K. Tempest Bradford was in town—I spent a lovely evening writing with her and others, and another at a dinner party Mary Robinette Kowal held in her honor. I’m not the only person who remarked to Tempest that she arrived just in time for the hottest, most uncomfortable days we’d had all summer. Luckily it cooled off toward the end of her visit.


Anyway, I have Tempest (and Michi and Jen) to thank for the discovery of Just Write Chicago, which really eased the dog days for me. Just Write Chicago is a Meetup group that exists solely to offer writers some companionship and commiseration on their lonely journeys. I’ve sampled both the Tuesday night and the Friday afternoon groups. The members are passionate about writing, and friendly to newbies—a winning combo, you ask me.

I’ll still write with my local peeps (aka the Naperville Region of National Novel Writing Month) in November, of course, and get together with them during several months (January-June,and then again in September) when they morph into The Writing Journey. But the Chicago group has so many members that write all year long that I’m almost assured of finding a group that’s meeting when it’s convenient for me to attend. With time set aside both for writing and socializing/problem solving at each session, Just Write Chicago is a fabulous discovery.

So, for you other writers who are reading this: how do you find encouragement along the way? Do you use actual or virtual writing groups for company and/or advice?

And…does anyone have any suggestions about finding or forming great critique groups? Please comment below, because I think that may be the next step…


Just Write & More Vivian Maier

Harold Washington Library Atrium

I’ve done more write-ins this week than I ever usually do outside of November. There’s a Meetup group called Just Write Chicago with many opportunities to hang out and just write, then check in with other writers to discuss everyone’s struggles and triumphs. I tried the Tuesday night and the Friday afternoon groups this week and liked both. The Friday one is usually going to be better for my schedule, but a couple of new friends go to the Tuesday group, so I’ll catch that one when I can.

On another topic…I liked her so much at the Chicago History Museum that when I went into Chicago on Friday to write, I stopped to see the Vivian Maier exhibit at the Harold Washington Library. Even though the library show felt like a smaller exhibit, there was more of an attempt to talk about Maier’s life and interpret her work. In addition to the Chicago area photography, they showed some photos from New York and Los Angeles, as well as more self portraits. There were also artifacts like film, cameras and other photography items.

Also unlike the Vivian Maier exhibit at the Chicago History Museum, the library will only have her photos and artifacts on display until September 28, so if your interest is whetted, try to get there before it’s gone. If you aren’t able to get there, you can still participate in a little experiment the library is hosting via Flickr. The library encourages you to try your own hand at some street photography and post it on Flickr at #VivianatCPL.