I named this post after a wonderful group that I found on http://www.meetup.com/. Joining this group has really been crucial in helping me to write my novel. Writing is such a solitary activity and it is often helpful and motivating to be a part of a group that encourages this pursuit. That is exactly what I found with Shut Up and Write! We would gather together at various cafes throughout San Francisco to write in silence. Writers tend to be a chatty bunch of procrastinators, so I thought that the name for this group was particularly clever.
Another group I joined to help on my writing and publishing journey was Bay Area Independent Publishing Association: http://www.baipa.net/ This particular group assists its members in developing knowledge and expertise in publishing, promoting and marketing their works.
In addition to joining these groups, I made one of the best decisions of my life over a year ago when I started my novel. I decided to stop waiting! To stop waiting for the inspiration to hit me, to stop waiting to feel perfect, to stop looking at other people who were living their dreams with envy and to start living my own dream. The Night-Time Novelist gave me the idea to set up a certain minimum amount of words to write per day, and I came up with 400. I found that my writing would usually get sloppy after 400 words. Of course some days I would be able to exceed my 400 word quota, and some days I would barely just make my quota.
In fulfilling a daily writing quota, while working full-time, I had to make use of a quality that is often viewed in a negative light, bringing to mind a highly regimented, over-achieving type of person. But there is a certain real beauty to this quality, and one that we should all strive to cultivate within ourselves.