Out of my comfort zone

Today was the first day of The Golden Egg Academy Foundations course held in the lovely offices at Scholastic publishing in London. I’ve been looking forward to getting stuck in ever since I got the email telling me I’d been accepted on the course.

However, as the day drew nearer I became more and more anxious. My life revolves around my family, my dogs, my home and I very rarely get out there and meet new people. In fact most of my time is spent on my own between school runs. Even my paid employment (self employed furniture upcycler) is done at home in the shed.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Writing is a solitary experience and possibly that’s one of the attractions for me. But at some point I knew that, if I was to take my writing forward, I would need to meet up with other writers and industry people, which is one of the main reasons I applied to join the course in the first place! I knew it was time to get out of my comfort zone!

When I worked in the real world I ran training courses and focus groups, and part of that was identifying the stages every new group or team goes through to ensure the group is performing at its optimum level. It’s called the forming-storming-norming-performing model developed in the 1960s by Bruce Tuckman. Briefly these stages are:

Forming: the team meets but are working independently from each other,

Storming: team members start to form ideas and opinions about other team members. Any personality clashes must be resolved before the team can move on,

Norming: team starts to share a common goal and works towards it,

Performing: team now working together towards common goals with minimum supervision.

At the beginning of the day there was a bit of awkwardness (forming) and by lunchtime we were chatting and beginning to get to know each other (storming). But the real moment of coming together (norming) was reading each others opening 1000 words of our manuscripts and then feeding back our thoughts. Terrifying! I think it’s fair to say that by the end of the day the individuals were definitely identifying as a group with a common, but also individual goals (performing).

So for me the hardest part is over: I left the house and met these other fantastic writers, all in the same boat as me with the same hang ups about their writing. And now, although we will be working independently on our own goals, we are now a team with a common goal.

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