The Power of a Writing Group with Tim Gager

Anna David
27 min readJun 1, 2023

When someone says they’re in a writing group, that can mean many things.

They may be doing a “write your book in a weekend” class or sitting down with fellow writers once a month.

For Tim Gager, it means showing up five days a week, online, for the past three years.

That’s because Tim runs the writing group I started when the pandemic hit. In those three years, at least 10 of its members have launched books and numerous movie projects, in-person readings and lifelong friendships have come to be.

Yet, in all that time, I’ve somehow never talked about the writing group on the podcast. Well, that all changed with this episode, where we dove into how a writing group transformed Tim’s life and career. I should mention that when he joined the group, he was already a critically acclaimed author of 16 books!

For more information about the writing group, click here. For more information about Tim Gager, click here.

TRANSCRIPT:

Tim: Amazing.

Anna: Tim, we’re doing this.

Tim: I’m excited.

Anna: I know, it’s kind of amazing. So Tim, let’s just, I, I will have done an intro. So everyone will know that you have however many books. 17?

Tim: 18.

Anna: 18? Oh, that was a good guess. 18 books. You and I met on Friendster.

Tim: That is correct. And Friendster, look how far Friendster has gone, like its original Friendster connection.

Anna: I know what, I mean, you’re my only one. It’s not like I met anyone else there.

Tim: Well you know, those circles, those concentric circles. You know, you can’t deny that.

Anna: No, you can’t deny it. So, so then what happened is when the pandemic started and I sent out an email that said, hey, will anybody who wants to jump on and write a 10am Pacific join? What happened then? How do you…

Tim: I got this email. I was on your mailing list to begin with. And I get this email during the pandemic. And I’m kind of like, well, you know, what do I do during that time? Stare at the wall or work on some writing and I was like I’m in. And I was introduced to some amazing people that, you know, I’m still in contact with today, amazing people, amazing connections. And, you know, three years later, we’re still meeting daily.

Anna: So it’s crazy. So, so we should explain you now run it. And you’re someone who showed up from the beginning. And, and so we are in the process of potentially coming up with a new name. It has been called the Inner Circle that was just like a random name that came up. It seems to encompass everything I don’t like, which is it sounds exclusive. And this is the most inclusive community that I’m aware of. But so what’s, what’s happened over these three years for you there?

Tim: For me, besides now running the group, wow.

Anna: Yeah.

Tim: It’s, the group has changed. We’ve had a different cast of characters. I’ve really gotten to know these people. You run into them daily. And these people might, are my friends. And if I go out of town for a reading, they all show up if I’m in their town. And I show up for them. It allows too that it’s really, really interesting that how we support one another. I really feel the support from the group. And I think the group feels support from each other in terms of where to go in their writing, getting feedback, things like that. And for me, it’s just been a real, real blessing that, you know, I’ve been in face-to-face writers’groups and this seems like one of the best face-to-face writers group, and it also keeps me accountable. I mean, I’ve got that hour to write every day, which is something that I need.

Anna: Yeah, I mean, I’ll say. So it started and like you said, it’s been a different cast of characters. And then, once it was going for a couple of months, I said, I’m gonna monetize this. It’s to, it’s taking my time, but also as my mentor Joe says, when people pay, they pay attention. And by charging, just, you know, a sort of nominal amount, and we do, sort of do scholarships if it’s somebody who really wants to do it and that amount isn’t, you know, isn’t feasible. It really went to a new level. So let’s talk about what happened once people started paying.

Tim: People paid, they showed up, they wrote books, they finished books. They, they honed their craft. And they’re just really, really just, in fact, to see some of the people at the core people show up every day. And there’s a solid core, but there are people that show up once a week or twice a week. I mean, I was, I was joking with Friday Ray, because Ray’s there every Friday. That’s his day. And, you know, also the connections too, like, these are people that, you know, they’re paying, but they’re also really, really, kind of a lot of them are well known, and they’re very, very modest individuals. And I’ve been able to use those connections for my benefit, and I’ve been able to use my knowledge to help them because many people have not finished their first book and, you know, we point them in that direction.

Anna: How many books have been published from the Inner Circle, do you know?

Tim: I’ve lost count. I would say that in the group, say that, you know, we’ve had 40 to 50 people run in and out, I think we’re almost at a 50% rate for even people that have showed up just one time. I mean, they count as a loss [laughs]. But we’ve had so many books, you know, and I can’t even, I can’t even name them. But, you know, I’ve read each and every one of them. Part of our support is to have the advanced readers team. And that catapults all of us into the, you know, the sights and minds on Amazon, in terms of, you know, Amazon promoting our books for us. So that was a great little, great little lesson I learned.

Anna: So you had published 15. Yes, so you had published 15 books, I think. And then you discovered what we do for each other, which is, you know, we sign up for each other’s launch squads, and then we read the book ahead of time, and listeners have heard me talk about this. You know, and so you experienced what it was like to, you know, on your 16th book, I think, to get a number one bestseller,

Tim: And ever since, you know, I’ve had three number one bestsellers.

Anna: Right.

Tim: And it just, you know, it’s so validating that, you know, I’ve been trying to get, you know, my books recognized, and also in the hands of people. And you know, it’s really exciting to have a number one best seller. Sometimes it’s humorous. I got Amazon, and it was Amazon subcategory which was wrong, which was like science fiction poetry something and it’s kind of like, well, number three in science fiction poetry, like, that doesn’t, that’s not really describing my work at all. Let’s do the aliens sonnet.

Anna: Yeah, a part

Tim: Part flying saucer, haiku time.

Anna: Yeah. Party Girl was humorous science fiction.

Tim: Yeah.

Anna: And so, and so we were talking before we were recording about how people’s writing has improved, which, okay, I’m going to tell you the honest to God truth. When we started the Inner Circle, I thought, these sweet people, this is never gonna happen. And it really was a testament to showing up and writing every day, because six months later, I come back, and I’m listening to professional writers. What happened?

Tim: Professional writers and professional promoters. And what happens, which is so wonderful about the group is, if you’re working at something, especially writing, writing’s the perfect example, that if you’re working every day, you can’t get worse. You can only get better as a writer. You can only get better. And that’s what happened. And also with the shared knowledge, in terms of promotion, and also in terms of writing, like just very, very basic stuff becomes, becomes mastered, like, how do you hook the beginning of a book? How do you hook the end of a chapter? You know, how do you do things like that, that, you know, if you’re a beginner writer, you don’t think about it or you’re told about it after you finish the entire manuscript, and you gotta go back and create this really fake hook thing. So people gain the knowledge along the way. What we don’t do is we don’t complete the book for you. I think a lot of people come in, they expect, okay, we’re having a one-on-one meeting, let’s go to, through your book, page by page, word by word, and we don’t do that. And I mean we could, but that’s a whole different concept. And that’s, you know, that’s developmental editing so, which is something actually that I’ve become involved in since this writing group. So again, it’s another…

Anna: I know, I love that. Yet, so I love that too because the last time I was there, you know, Heather’s like, I, I was thinking, and I was thinking, I was like, who do I want as my developmental editor? And it was Tim, you know. So it’s, it’s really given you, you know, let’s not call it a new career. You very much have your own careers going, but, but, you know. I don’t know, had you ever been a group facilitator before? I know, you’ve been doing those reading series forever. But…

Tim: Very briefly, like, I’ve done workshops in high schools, or like student day of poetry and the whole day of like, running workshops, and I’ve been in other writers groups, but in terms of like a daily facilitator, and being able to, you know, share information. No, I’ve not, but it’s, you know, I think when I was picked to do it, I was thrilled. I just think it’s such a natural fit.

Anna: And it is, you know, just like anything it was, it was work to, to get to that, you know, we, we had another, a number of people go in and out and everything is just finding the right fit. And the feedback I get about you as a facilitator is just, it’s just crazy good. So, so you know what I think is really interesting is this whole time it’s been going, you know, I’m pretty much uninvolved. I, I go one to two times a month. But I always was like, I don’t know, what is this? How do I describe this? And I, and it was only in the last couple of months, honestly, that I realized how, I don’t want to sound dramatic. Like I really think it saved people’s lives.

Tim: I agree.

Anna: A couple people would not literally be here without it. Because it came along at a very challenging time in the world and in people’s lives. And it, I know, I know you don’t love it when people say that it’s, you know, the best therapy in the world. But how do you think in terms of support and writing, it fits together?

Tim: It’s important as a writer to have a safe space. Because if you’re writing really hard stuff, you’re tearing off that band aid. And if you’re doing it in front of people that you’ve haven’t had conversations with. Our folks, it’s really kind of funny, we, four days a week, we come in, and we check in before we do our hours of writing. And sometimes the check in is all personal stuff. And it’s like people trust each other. And but it’s kind of like, I’ll let the personal stuff go for five minutes, experience be like, okay, let’s check in on writing now, like, what are you working on today? So it’s all connected to have a safe place to write and have a safe place to hang out. And, like, I feel like in that group, I can tell people anything, which means if I’m writing something, I can write anything. I can write my innermost secrets, like I can, like stuff, I wouldn’t even reveal in step five [laughs], I’m like telling…

Anna: Yeah, really?

Tim: I’m telling people. I’m able to write about it now. Funny thing, I know a lot of know step five. Step five is when you reveal to another people, all the horrible things you did, that’s the basic thing. And like, when, I when I did mine in program, I didn’t even do it with anyone. I didn’t want anyone that I knew to know about my stuff, or like, maybe get circulated in the group. So my therapist at the time, he had gone through 12 steps, and he was in recovery, too. So I said, can I do my step five with you? So I paid $150 an hour to do my step five, so it was [laughs] a paid, a paid step.

Anna: Yeah, and my poor sponsors have listened to hours and hours and hours for the price of free. And so, you know, I know Leianne always goes, you know, it’s the cheapest therapy in the world. It works out to $4 an hour. The things we have walked each other through, not really me, but you guys have walked each other through. I mean, we have had a lot of people in recovery. A lot of people. I mean, for a while, we had three people who were writing about coming out of a cult. We have seen people through the deaths of family, we lost a fam-, Inner Circle member. And, you know, and lots of tears have been shed. It’s pretty amazing, because, and I’m not promoting the, this group through this conversation. I have never really done much to tell people about it. It’s very much, I would say, it’s hard to find [laughs]. You got to work to find it and get in. And you and I have talked about, like, you know, should we be expanding it more? Should it be multiple groups? What are your thoughts on it?

Tim: I mean, I think that it’s, it’s the world is the oyster, you know, like, I think that we can expand if we want to, we don’t have to. Like I’m always open for a challenge. And I think it would function just as well. Now Leianne saying that the group is the cheapest therapy you can find. Let me tell you even Leianne has that point of view. She has grown so much as a writer and as a critique-er. Like, looking at other people’s work, she has been so spot on as, as of late. And, you know, that wasn’t always the case. And when you learn other things, in terms of critical listening, and when you’re looking at other people’s stuff, you’re able to look at it within your stuff. And Barbara too. Like you know, Barbara wrote a wonderful book about, you know, the loss of her son to addiction and through suicide and like you know, Barbara is one of the most supportive persons. Now she volunteers with families and individuals who have lost people like that day. Like, she’s like on this team that goes to the site and you know, what growth by her and, you know, she’s got two books now. You know, through our group.

Anna: Yeah. And I remember when she first came to me, that had just happened.

Tim: I remember.

Anna: It had just, she had just lost her son. And I said, join this group right now. And there have been a lot of people that I’ve sort of run across in my travels. And I’ve said, join this group now. And sometimes they listen. LaTonya was someone I met at South by Southwest.

Tim: She’s back. And she actually, she finished her training and she was back yesterday. And it was such a joy to see her. What a wonderful person.

Anna: Yeah, so it’s like, I never know who’s really going to listen and show up because I will say this: It’s a scary thing to show up. And you and I have seen probably, you haven’t seen as many as I have. I would say there have been 60 to 70 people over the three years who have applied, been accepted, and ghosted. So they showed up and went to the trouble of saying, I want to do this. I’m going to apply and then couldn’t show up for themselves when it happened. Like what do you, what do you think about that?

Tim: Some people love the idea of having a book. They really love it. I think everybody, it’s kind of like, you fantasize about being a rock star or a pro athlete. I think people fantasize about being an author and finishing a book. But when push comes to shove, unfortunately, you have to write it [laughs]. You know, the hardest thing about writing a book is writing a book. And you know, I’m not saying that that’s the case with everybody. But I think like when the grim reality set in, like, oh, it’s like a one day at a time thing, right? If you’re looking at something the rest of your life, or I’ve got to finish this book now, or immediately, it can be overwhelming. And you know, that’s why the day to day is really great. And when it comes to reality, sometimes people are like, you know what? I just don’t want to put in the work.

Anna: Yeah, yeah. And I think that what’s also interesting, and I know I’m jumping from topic to topic, is the, the wide variety of topics. We have a book that was published by a member that was all about saving yourself for marriage, The 49 Year Old Virgin.

Tim: Dr. Paula Perez. Yeah.

Anna: 49 years old, right? And then we have a book in the works that’s all about understanding your sensuality, and you know, and your sexuality. I know, she’s all, she’s always like, it’s not the same thing. But I just love that, you know, it really spans the gamut of topics. We are, you know, as they say in program, we are people who would normally not mix.

Tim: Exactly. Yeah. And to have somebody, I mean, Dr. Paula Perez is an educator, married to a holy man. She’s very holy herself. And you know, we’re able to look at each other’s differences, but like, you know, there’s this common theme of support and love and writing. And we’re able to look past all of that, all of our differences. Yes, Dr. Paula Perez has started a tip jar for anyone that swears, so like money’s coming in that way.

Anna: Oh, no. No. I know, every time I show up and swear, I’m like, sorry, sorry Paula. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. I’m like, but you know, it’s how I talk. You know, and so I will say, to kind of going back to what we were talking about before. I always felt how do I promote this book? Because we’re not teaching you how to write a book. There are so many programs out there that are like, write a book in a weekend, write a book in a week, right, you know, and it’s not that. And I felt so good when, when Ray showed up and said, you know, and he’s a super successful Hollywood guy. And he shows up and he says, I’ve joined a lot of writing groups. And this is the first one where I actually felt people cared about each other. And we, I know we’ve talked about that. I was only in one writing group ever, when I lived in New York, and I would pretty much cry afterwards. And it’s the one book that I never finished writing because I just felt like it got so torn to threads, I think, to shreds. You know and, and I don’t know how it became this, like loving family. I really, really don’t. But what do you think?

Tim: I’m in full agreement, I think, you know, we’ve become this family because I think we’re really gentle with each other. You don’t always have to tear books down or be competitive, or, you know, try to show how much…we’re very humble people. We’re not trying to show how much we know by cutting down others. And even if someone is reading something, or submits some work for critique, people only get encouragement. And they’re able, because it’s a safe place. They’re also able to take the critical types of critiques and use them and work with them because there’s, there’s trust there, you know. It’s not like, you know, it’s, it’s a team. It’s not a bunch of like mean people. I always think of, even though it crosses all genders, Mean Girls, you know. It’s all genders. There are mean boys, mean guys, mean groups. And it’s not that at all. There’s none of that really like, snide backstabbings, group dynamics stuff that you can find almost in every group, whether it’s a writing group or book club or a cooking group. Like there’s none of that rumor and snide stuff. We’re all very, very open with each other. Not all personalities meld. But you know, it’s, it’s all good really.

Anna: But we’ve almost with, almost without exception, never had a problem. It’s, you know, because one bad apple can really affect things. And it, I don’t mean to be so whatever, but it does feel sort of divinely chosen, almost each person. And I’m not blowing smoke. But I do think a lot of that humility really does come from you. And it’s like, when Jeff Cooper joined in, all these people, like you had, however many books and the group was being facilitated by people who had no writing experience and yet you showed up. And I really, really do think that has been an example. Because you were so humble, I had no idea how many books you had until we were going in this. Well, you know, recovery has taught me humility. And when I attend my recovery meetings, I don’t say that I’m a writer, and I don’t…and people are actually surprised. So that’s been good practice for me. And it’s a good lesson for me. And I think it’s important because, as writers we fall into this world, we need to separate from, right? There’s this world of promotion, that we don’t know, we need to promote, but we don’t necessarily believe all the things about ourselves that we’re putting out there. Like, we’re not walking down the street saying, hey, read my new book. Hey, I’m at the corner store, check out this blurb. And you know, we don’t do that. And I think we get misunderstood for that a lot. So we have to try extra, extra hard in our real lives to be humbled.

Anna: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And about the promotion thing. I would say, since you and I got into publishing that has changed a lot. When we first got in, you didn’t have to worry about that. There was no social media. You could do press if you wanted, but there was no putting yourself out there. And I have really had a turnaround where I went from really resenting it to really thinking it’s a privilege because listeners have heard me say this before, but it’s like social media is our opportunity to have our own TV stations, art galleries, magazines, TV shows and, and if we look at it as a privilege and not an albatross, what an amazing thing to be able to say: I am an expert. I don’t need gatekeepers to tell me that I have chosen myself. And I think we’ve really nudged each other. I would say you have become somebody more comfortable with…

Tim: I think it’s really, really, because there’s so many different options. It’s really, really empowering, which direction you take. There are so many different avenues to promote. And, you know, more is better isn’t always the case. But sometimes better is better. A former member of ours, and current friend, which of course I retain all these friendships. Dar Dixon, who’s an actor and producer, he was, I was just talking to him the other day, and he was like, I walk into auditions. And they ask me, how many followers do you have on social media? And he says, I don’t even go there. And it’s got nothing to do with what I do. And very often followers don’t mean much of anything in the book world. They’re just people that throw likes at you. Do they throw book sales at you? Probably not as many as you think.

Anna: Alas, yeah, I mean, the New York Times did a story in 2021 about how Justin Timberlake had set you know, 4.8 million followers, no 34.8 million whatever it was, and sold like under 100,000 books, which is of course a whole lot of books, but not really and that it’s not about followers. It’s about engagement. It’s about does, do these followers want to read what you have and it’s a very, yesterday I put up with posts, hey, join my advanced reader to my launch squad. Maybe, I got a lot of followers, I maybe got 10 people, not a lot.

Tim: That’s surprising. You do so much for so many people. That’s surprising that people just wouldn’t jump on that.

Anna: I was surprised too. I know. I mean we’re doing okay, but I will say most members of the Inner Circle have not joined yet so…

Tim: They will.

Anna: You did immediately.

Tim: They will, they will. They love you. They will.

Anna: Now wait, there was something else I was gonna say. so talk about so, you know, the connections you’ve made and the people in there like what you and Cory are working on.

Tim: Yeah, Cory and I, we’re having this, you know, we’ve had a slight delay, but we have this sort of symbiotic relationship, that I’m helping Cory with his book and he’s helping me write a screenplay. And, you know, maybe I think he might have more clout in that world than I have in my world. But you know, Cory is so humble. And he’s so easy to work with and he’s so excited about everything. It’s so great to be working with Cory. And like, it’s not like, you know, you can go out to Hollywood in California and people are, they’re, they’re…Someone described this the other day. They’re nice, but they’re not kind. You know, there’s a lot of disingenuous type of people but Cory is so genuine. Yeah, he’s so genuine. He’s been…

Anna: I mean…

Tim: He’s been through the wringer. And he’s come out…

Anna: I, I just was gonna challenge that.

Tim: Go ahead.

Anna: Sorry.

Tim: No go ahead, you were gonna challenge…

Anna: Well, no, I was just gonna say, I don’t I, I, yeah, I mean, I live here and I find some of the kindest people ever. You know, I, I hate those stereotypes about LA, like because it’s just never been my experience. However, it’s not like I’m, you know, work at CAA. So it’s not like I’m in the cutthroat world. But yeah, Cory is like a puppy. And, and I love too how this group, I met Cory at an event I did because his wife Stephanie came. And you know, and then Leianne was my, my roommate when I graduated from college. I mean, I just love how, how random just the joining is. Like I said, LaTonya I met at South by Southwest like it really, it really is right now. But now, okay, you can talk about the bad LA people. But how Cory’s a good one.

Tim: I’m not saying bad LA, please love me. I’m not talking about you bad LA people. But like, one thing, like people like Cory too. Gifted, talented writers who’ve never been told that and have never shown their work. And like, those are the people that just work so well in Inner Circle. Like, they need this push, like, wow, like, you know, this, this is great. You know, this is great stuff. And you know, your life is fascinating. And I can’t write that. I can’t write like that. Everyone writes differently. I think it’s, you know, I come in with book writing experience, quote, unquote, but like, I don’t write like anybody else in that group. And they don’t write like anybody else. And that’s, that’s the beauty of it.

Anna: And that reminds me too, the anthology. Okay, so we got to delve into Chris Joseph for a minute. Chris Joseph is somebody who showed up day one who said, I’m writing a memoir about my unconventional recovery from cancer. I think he had a manuscript, and in three months, he had really no professional writing experience. We, my company published it. And, um, you know, and so first of all, I think that’s interesting, because then we have people like Kimberly, who I met in person, like two weeks ago, who say, you know, I feel like you’re pushing me a little hard, I really want to, you know, who’s years into the process. So it really is at any pace. And then, so but just side note about Chris, so when we first talked, I said, I think you should be a coach. I think he should coach people through cancer recovery. And he said, I would never do that. That’s, I’m not interested in that, you know. Cut to he’s now being certified as a coach. And he has started three podcasts. And he’s putting together his TEDx talk. And I just, I love that evolution.

Tim: And his book is being passed around like Johns Hopkins, various universities and like, it’s, it’s really amazing. And Chris is example of a guy that was just driven and I’ll use Barbara Legere as an example too. You know, Barbara’s son just died. Chris, you know, six-and-a-half year recovery from stage four… What kind of cancer was it? It’s one of the bad ones.

Anna: The worst kind. The real bad kind, I can’t remember.

Tim: Yes, pancreatic cancer. And so they both were like, I’m driven for this, like, I have so much behind this. I’m so invested in this subject. And no matter how you do it, I mean, I, when I write, I like to get it done in a really driven way, so I relate to that. But I also relate to people that want to take their time and, you know, they want to pick through their work and have it exactly. Because if you don’t like your book when it comes out, you’re in big trouble. For various reasons.

Anna: Yep. Yep. Been there. It’s, it’s a terrible feeling to have to promote a book you don’t like that you also happen to have written. It really is. So, so what Chris and former member Beth did, is they said we want to do an anthology with members of the Inner Circle. So they put together The Epiphanies Project, and they managed it. And that book came out and, you know, became a number one bestseller. And what I thought was really interesting about that, is so Cory, who’s had all this success, said, that’s what really made me a writer, having an essay published in an anthology. So I’m very proud of the fact that that anthology came out of the group and what do you think?

Tim: I think the anthology is great. And I really, besides Cory, I think everyone gained so much confidence seeing their work in print and hearing good things about. There isn’t, there isn’t a dud in that. And we all question ourselves. Like, I think my contribution to the anthology is the worst piece in there, but that’s just what writers do. So it just was a wonderful work. And like, the first time, the first time you’re published and you get your hands on it, it’s absolutely euphoric. Like, again, like, like, you know you fantasize about being a rock star, and suddenly, you’re up in front of like, 3000 people with a microphone. Like, that’s the exact feeling.

Anna: Yeah.

Tim: And, you know, it’s, it’s wonderful. I still remember the first person that published me. Like I was a failed poet in my mind. And, you know, someone published a six-line poem of mine in a, in a journal was kind of like, you know, I think I can do this. And that’s exactly how these projects work for so many of us.

Anna: Mm-hmm. And I want to, what you don’t know, is that I think I talked Barbara into editing another Anthology for the group.

Tim: Oh nice.

Anna: I know. I know. So you’ll find out about that. And, you know, that is something you know, so, so it was Mike, Mike Duffy said, ah, this group has transformed my life. I think it should go global. I think more people need to know about it. And so we started to have those meetings to try to develop that. And I, I don’t, I don’t know. But I do know, you know, what he talked about is, the, all these studies about there’s a friendship deficit, and he’s, he’s in society, and he knows all these people who are so successful, but are missing this. Um, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s gonna happen with this group. But if you step back and go three years later with, frankly, not a lot of effort in terms of, no effort in terms of marketing, this thing is still going. It’s crazy.

Tim: I agree. And like Mike Duffy, wow. Like, that was, when I heard his thoughts on the group. I was kind of blown away. Like Mike’s always impressed me as this really, really intellectual guy. And, you know, he’s there, he suits up and shows up and to hear that it was, it’s life changing to somebody. And boy, that’s just amazing.

Anna: Totally blew my, plus he scares me so much [laughs]. So to me, I was totally shocked. You know, you don’t know what’s going on in people’s, in people’s minds. But, but what else have I failed to ask you or say about the group that you want people to know?

Tim: Oh, God, we’ve covered so much of it. It’s very, very welcoming if you’re looking for a group. One for accountability, show up every day, write for an hour. Two, for to get great feedback. Three to get really good friends to have. Improve your skills, have that support have that, that friend community deficit overcome. Like, I think it’s like, it’s an amazing group. And, you know, we want it to grow. We’re very, very welcoming.

Anna: Yeah, and that’s, that’s another thing I should mention. You don’t know. There are a lot of people who pay for that group, and have never shown up or who show up once a month. And I think it’s really interesting that the people want, that they, they still, they still do it. And it still is a value to them. Plus, they know, the way that, the way that I try to incentivize people to stay is that it goes up $5 every season. So if you leave and you want to rejoin, you pay up the new price, and I will tell you, Chris Joseph made that mistake of leaving and had to come back and I didn’t make an exception. I’m like you’re paying at the new price. But in terms of new people, I, I do sometimes worry. Oh my God, new people are going to come in and how are they going to feel welcome? And they always seem to. What is it, how is it that new people who don’t know this group of people that are very much embedded in people’s lives? Do you think? Why? How is it that they feel so welcome?

Tim: I just think that the quality, the quality of the people and the personalities in there right now is, I mean, you can’t ask for anything more. It’s just a natural welcoming. We’ve had a lot of loss in general, we’ve had a lot of struggles. And it’s like, it’s just really, really wonderful to welcome people in. Like, come on. Come fly with us. You know, that’s really an important aspect of, of any group, you always want to feel welcomed and always has to be, feel sincere. And I think you know, we do that.

Anna: Yeah, yeah. And I will say, the only reason you were not running it before was very sexist. I truly had in my head, it had to be a woman. And I don’t know why I had that. But I did. And I’m just so glad that I got over my abhorrent sexism and saw that you were the person for it.

Tim: Oh, well, thanks. I mean, I’ve always been described as more of a woman than a man in terms of personality. So maybe, you know, there’s a little bit of a meeting halfway there. I mean, I’m an [inaudible]. So I’m very, very sensitive. And I think as a facilitator, you have to jump into people’s, you can’t come across as this authoritarian figure, you have to jump into people’s lives. Where they are, what their skill level is, how they’re feeling. Like it’s all really, really important for the development of new writers.

Anna: Yeah. Well, Tim, you are a delight. If people want to find you at, you know, first of all, they can join the Inner Circle. And now I really can’t change the name. Now I can’t remember if we said this while I was while we were recording or not. I don’t like the name, did I say this? Because it, it implies exclusivity. And it’s the most inclusive community that I know of.

Tim: Yeah, we could call it Word Warriors. What kind of… Word Warriors come out and play. We get the beer bottles, Word Warriors, Word Warriors [laughs].

Anna: So if you’re listening to this, you know, look, if it’s, if it’s Inner Circle, if it’s Word Warriors, whatever it is, if, if we’re not open for new members at that time, just fill out the application anyway. And, and I will say we let most people in. The application is how committed are you to this? And, and also, I will say, while we have had fiction writers and we have had screenwriters, the majority of people are writing nonfiction.

Tim: Yes, but I think that it’s open to everybody. It’s open to everyone. Ray’s writing fiction. And they are, fiction’s my forte.

Anna: True Ray’s…

Tim: One of the actual double, Beth’s one of the reasons why I joined is I knew I had a memoir in me and I didn’t know how to do it. And you know, around people that write memoirs. And now I’m like, I hear people’s stories like on the street or, or people I run into. I’d be like, have you thought of your memoir yet and they’re not, they’re not writers. It’s kind of like, I’m so interested and fascinated by people.

Anna: Yeah, so yeah, anyone listening want to join. Don’t know if we’re open for membership when you’re hearing this, but um, but I highly consider it. You do not have to feel like, oh my God, I can’t show up five days a week. Oh, the other thing I, that happens is people who can’t meet at that time, they do offshoot reading write, writing groups. Like I’ll, I’ll sort of see something in the Facebook group that says, oh, anybody wants to meet this Saturday. So it really is a community that blows my mind.

Tim: Yeah, it is.

Anna: Sorry, if people want to find you, Tim. Where do they, where do they go to find you and find your book?

Tim: Well, since my name is fairly unique and there might be one of us in the country, just remember Gager is G A G E R. Just Google Timothy Gager, you’ll find my website. You can contact me through that and you’ll get a good, just by Googling me, you’ll get a really, really good cross references how to contact me and what I’m up to.

Anna: You’re blowing my mind. My whole time I thought it was gayger. Good to know. Slow learner.

Tim: Oh, no, no, it’s the first five letter last name that no one gets right. Gagger, gayger. Jaeger.

Anna: Yeah, I mean, Tim Gager. Say it all the time. Alright Tim, thank you so much, and thanks you guys for listening.

Tim: Thank you, Anna.

Anna: I’ll see you next week. Talk to you next week.

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Anna David

NY Times bestselling author of 8 books, publisher, TV/TED talker. Want to find out more about my company? https://www.legacylaunchpadpub.com/what-we-do