Creative Minds Collective
Creative Minds Collective is a group of fiction writers based in Central Ohio. I’m proud to have co-founded the group, and to currently serve as Group Leader. We started in May 2005, at which time there were just three of us, Nova C. Hooper, C. Bryan Brown, and myself. Since then, we’ve grown to nine members at present count, and are still growing.
Being a part of a group has been an invaluable addition to my writing career. CMC is my support system, a great source of inspiration, and my base of like-minded friends. We’re a diverse group, both in our writing and publication experience levels and our personalities and lives. Despite our differences (or, perhaps, in part because of them) we all work wonderfully together.
CMC is not a read-and-critique group, which is the most common form of writers’ group. Rather, we follow a format favored by a lot of public and bookstore-sponsored groups, but enhanced. Nova and I went to a few meetings of a group sponsored by a local bookstore a few years ago. We liked the structure of the meetings, but didn’t like that the leader didn’t seem very open to group discussion. I tried, to my frustration and his apparent irritation, to engage the group in discussions of the topic at hand, but to little avail.
When Nova and I decided to form our own group, we agreed we wanted to keep the topic-presentation format, but with an openness to discussion that the store-sponsored group sorely lacked. We added a 10-minute writing prompt to the beginning of each meeting, and a take-away exercise to the end of each presentation, and our structure was complete. Later on, we decided to waive the presentation every 3rd meeting and instead do writing prompts for 1/2 of our meeting time and then hold an open writing discussion the other 1/2. The format has worked amazingly well, and CMC is coming up on its fourth anniversary in May 2010.
We also do NaNo WriMo as a group every year. Participation in NaNo WriMo is by no means required of group members, but enough join us each year to make it worth suspending our normal meetings for that month. Instead, we get together at least once a week for group write-ins. Unlike our regular meetings, our write-ins are open to the public, and we encourage members of our local writing community to join us whenever possible.
In addition to regular meetings and our NaNo WriMo events, CMC puts together a short fiction anthology each year, including stories by any group members who choose to participate, and edited by one group member on a rotating basis. I’m especially excited about this year’s anthology, which will be edited by CMC’s Treasurer, J.M. Vogel. I’m not going to give anything away regarding the topic without J.M.’s permission (which I haven’t asked for) but suffice to say she’s come up with an absolutely brilliant theme that’s got the whole group excited and working very closely together. Watch the blog for more about the anthology as things unfold. The CMC website will have news as the book’s publication grows nearer!