Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Writing Prompt: Growing a Tribe

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Do you regularly free write? Do you wish you did? Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook or a blank page and keep your hand moving for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 

Then, share a link to your free write in the comments section below. We’d love to see what you did with this week's prompt!  

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Photo by Jena Schwartz

Photo by Jena Schwartz

Working on a Master's in Creative Writing isn't the easiest thing to do. And in some ways, it's made a bit harder by the fact that I am doing it in the Low-Residency format. True, I have the freedom to bend the work to my family's schedule, I don't have time consuming classes to sit through, and I have flexibility in how fast or slow I get my work done. But there are drawbacks.

After a year of the program, I have only made a small number of close writing relationships at my university. Because I'm not going to classes, and sitting in dining halls, and running into people in the writing department offices, there has been little opportunity to find my tribe. And it's my belief that a writing life without writing buddies is no writing life at all.

So I've taken matters into my own hands. Ithaca, NY, where I live, is a very writer-friendly, and writer-full town. There are two universities with excellent writing programs and I've attended events at both. I've started a Facebok group for Upstate New York women writers, which has become an active place to catch up with folks. I attend the local SCBWI meetings where I can share and laugh and learn about being a writer. I commiserate over coffee with local writing friends. I have developed a stellar online critique group. And whenever anyone introduces me to someone who remotely resembles a writer, I jump on her, pestering her with questions about her genre and work and try to discern whether this unsuspecting soul would be a good writing buddy.

I'm slowly creating relationships through my low-residency program, and I suspect after the next on-campus residency I may have a few more friends. But as I wade through my life as a writer, I realize that one of the most valuable assets one can have is her tribe.

Today, free write about your tribe. Who are they? How did you find them? What makes them special? How can you expand your circle to include more writers? Where can you seek out new tribe members?

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Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd like to hear your ideas! 


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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