What we're about

We write whatever we want for 75 minutes, then optionally read what we wrote. This is a group which provides a comfortable place for people to write who may otherwise have trouble finding the time and discipline. And sometimes we discover new friends.

This is a shameless copy of my previous shameless copy of my favorite New York writing group. The idea is simple:

1. We quietly write for 75 minutes.
2. Those who want to read do so. There is no pressure.
3. I get to ring a bell.
4. Maybe we hang out a bit or grab a bite nearby.

This incarnation of the group differs slightly from the previous one, and will meet in classrooms, parks (weather-permitting), and other local publicly accessible places where we are unlikely to be disturbed.

Here are some details:

1. As per the name, this is a friendly writing group. People write whatever they want, and reading is entirely optional. There are writers of all levels, and the cast often changes between meetings. You can write anything you want; there is no preferred genre or style. You can come as frequently or infrequently as you wish. You can RSVP or not, show or not. We do not charge, we do not judge.

2. This is a writing group, not a critiquing group or reading group (even if those elements are present). You will be writing quietly (no beeps, bloops, phones, or primal scream therapy) for 75 minutes in a room full (or 1/2-full or 17/89ths-full) of people.

3. I encourage you to RSVP when you can, it really helps with planning. This said, RSVPs are not required and we do not penalize no-shows. If you suddenly feel like writing 3 minutes before the meeting (and are very very fast on your bicycle), just show up with pen and paper. If you RSVP'ed and find true love 3 minutes before the meeting, I suggest skipping the group and picking lifelong happiness. As has been proven, lifelong happiness is not better than a ham sandwich. But it IS better than sitting in a room for 75 minutes without a ham sandwich.

4. You may write anything on any topic in any language in any medium. Reading is a different issue. You have to be able to read what you wrote, so that requires a different set of skills. Because we will be in public places rather than my condo this time, I'm going to limit the reading of explicit content. It's certainly fine to write these, but I'll ask you to refrain from reading them in consideration of the venues and their other patrons.

5. The group meets on Ken time. Ken time is based on a maximally non-euclidean geometry induced by mass fluctuations. Put in lay terms, this translates to "whenever I feel like it." Historically, whenever I feel like it averaged to every week or two in the previous group. This time, we'll try to meet weekly when possible.

6. Reading is entirely voluntary, with no pressure in any way, shape, or form. Any rumor that there is a reading death-match with only one survivor is fake news. I personally find the prospect of reading highly motivational. Not everyone does, nor does everyone relish hearing others. There is no pressure to read, and it is perfectly fine to leave after the writing portion if you are busy. The only thing I ask is that if you do read, you stick around for everyone else's readings. While generally you only may read what you just wrote, ping me if you have something specific you want to read (within reason) and I'll probably allow it.

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And here's a FAQ which answers to lots of other pressing questions. Chances are you'll find all the answers none of those religions or self-help books could provide. They won't be the right answers, but let's not quibble about such things. That would be blasphemy.

1. Why is 75 minutes special? Why not 74 or 76 or 74+pi-e? 75 minutes turns out to be one of the fundamental parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics. If you look in a textbook it's very hard to spot, but so are particles.

2. Why do you get to ring a bell? The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things. This one's much much smaller, so it just echoes the impermanence of our writing meetup. Also, gavels are very expensive.

3. What type of writing is allowed? Anything... as long as it combines Sanskrit, dactylic hexameter, and a lovable but cynical pet that always interferes when the protagonist is about to get somewhere with her love interest. Fine, we'll allow anything.

4. When do I email/mail/fax/courier/tweet my work to others? You don't. This isn't a critiquing group. There is no prior distribution of work. If you want to read from an existing work, ask me and I may allow it if time permits. But the focus of the group is writing.

4b. This sounds like the perfect place to share draft #297 of my 4000 page unedited novel, solicit criticism, and then ignore it all when I rewrite everything for draft #298. That's not a question. And, um, no. THAT group meets on Feb 30, at 3 AM about 4 miles due East off the long pier...

5. Is it the same group of people every time? No. Attendance revolves -- as it is meant to. While there may be some (myself included) who try to attend as many meetings as possible, most show up as desire and opportunity dictates.

6. I RSVP'd but my dog ate my cat which ate my computer which ate the kid that dad bought for 2 zuzim, so I can't attend or change my RSVP. Will I be arrested, executed, or (gasp) marked as a no-show? No. If you don't feel like it, just don't come. There's no penalty and you won't be marked as a no-show. This said, please try to RSVP (or un-RSVP) when you can. There's never any need to RSVP no unless you previously RSVP'ed yes.

Welcome to the group, and I hope to see you at a meeting soon!!!!!!!

Upcoming events (1)

Write, Read, and Socialize

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

No preparation needed. Just bring something to write with and on. We'll gather inside the main MIT lobby at the Mass Ave entrance (it's the room with the cupola ceiling and cavernous interior) , then find an empty classroom to write in. I'll post the room for latecomers, but it may take a couple of minutes to do so --- so if you arrive late and see nobody just check the meetup comments. We'll quietly write for 75 minutes (no cells, bleepers, car alarms, experimental sonic weaponry, or video game consoles). Then, anyone who wishes to read may do so. If there's a lot of people I may use a signup sheet and put some limits on things. In the past, meetings have usually kept to 2-2.5 hrs. If you arrive late, please enter quietly, find a seat and begin writing. There will be a chance to chat a bit before and after people read. On the off-chance we get displaced (somebody has the room reserved), we'll just migrate to another nearby classroom or space and keep writing. This happens on rare occasion and we just politely vacate and move. Getting there: Everyone knows the way to get to MIT is hard work! Bus: The 1 bus stops right in front of 77 Mass Ave Train: There nearest stops are the Kendall and Central Sq Red lines. Kendall probably is a bit closer and in bad weather you can walk the entire way through the tunnels of MIT (if you have nerves of steel and can best the spirits of disgruntled graduate students which wander the halls afflicting the unwary). Parking: Others have had success finding parking along memorial drive around 6-6:30 so it may be worth a shot.

Past events (5)

Write, Read, and Socialize

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photos (1)