This Is Not A Chatroom

Updated to note that the Not-A-Chatroom has closed for lack of interest. You can still take the pro-focus writing quiz to find out what kind of a writer you are.

Recently, one of my most favorite-est online writers’ communities added a new feature. (It’s for members, so I won’t add a direct link, but since basic membership is free, click on through, sign up, and take a look around.)

It is not a chat room.

Okay… well, it’s a chat room. Except the general idea isn’t to chat about your work. Oh, no. This is a chat room that’s not a chat room. It’s a come in, greet your fellow writers, and get to work room. Sort of a working quietly on your own in the presence of others room. Study hall for writers. The expectation is that you will study.

The rules are: NO CHATTING! You come in, state your goals, and get to work. Sometimes, there are word sprints. Sometimes there are tiny little bits of info about what you’re working on. But there is NO CHATTING.

And–believe it or not–it’s working fairly well for me.

I’ve mastered the fine art of emoji-only greetings, and showing up.

I do pretty well, when I know people are expecting me to be somewhere, and expecting me to work.

Now, admittedly, the internet is a broad and wonderful place, and it has tabs, so I won’t swear there’s no “research” going on in the background, but by and large, I’ve been moving forward through the magic of peer pressure.

Togetherness–such as it is–is working. And if I were in a real-life work space, it would work the same way. Very quiet–so you don’t bother anyone else–and moving forward, because other people are there, and it’s one of the few places where people actually care whether you write a novel or not. No one is going to tell you you should quit and become an insurance agent, for instance.

I’m still fiddling with website efficiency here. Do you feel all optimized? No? Well, I’m playing balance function with resources. I’m going to have to look around and see what I can live without, or what I can smooth out, because I’m not running all that smoothly.


  1. Reply

    What a great idea! Of course, all sorts of funny pictures from my school days come to mind…passing notes, using the book you’re supposed to be reading as a cover for the one you’re actually reading, focusing on the hairy mole on your English teacher’s chin instead of concentrating on the discussion (yep, that’s a real one). Now I will spend the rest of the day trying to think of contemporary equivalents (second window with funny cat videos for #2, maybe).

    • Reply

      We always paid attention in English class. Maybe because the teacher was getting to that age when you don’t realize you shouldn’t tell children about injecting oranges with vodka until after you’ve already done it.

      • Reply

        Now I’m craving an orange. Actually, aside from the hairy mole lady (who was hopelessly boring) we paid great attention in English, too. The school turned out so many writers and print and broadcast journalists, a PBS person I met referred to (to my amazement) “The Highland Park High School Media Mafia.” Physics and trig were a different story!

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