Guest blogger: Catherine Evans
Have you ever done group work? I used to have to do it at school and uni and I hated it. Someone always flaked off and didn’t do their share. Someone else would force their opinions on the group. Everyone wanted the credit but no one wanted to do the work. I vowed never to do group work again.
Yet I have, and quite successfully. It seems that when you choose to work as a group, and can choose the group, things work better.
In my agricultural science career, I worked on a lot of projects with multiple groups. My vow of never doing group work went by the wayside and I was very glad to be proven wrong. I learned to love group work—sharing information, brainstorming, checking out other people and places, learning to understand others’ issues. I even led a project with groups from right across Australia. We took a busload of farmers on a road trip as part of the group project and that was an awesome experience.
With my writing I’ve also been involved in group projects. My first print books have come about through group work, and one of those is out this week (the other is written under my pseudonym). I find it funny that group work has featured for both writing personas, especially after my early hatred of it.
Working in a group makes me more aware of myself. I become aware of things I might usually take for granted—like how I approach something (e.g. a story idea). I have to dig deep to find my self-confidence and hold my own in company that is often above my level of expertise. I have to listen, analyse, speak, compromise. I have to work things out that, if I was alone, I’d just do my way—and sometimes I’ve learnt better ways to do these things.
Group work can be confronting and challenging. But it can also be a time where you make new friends, learn more about yourself, stretch your wings, and sometimes you can learn to fly.
Jennie Jones, Lisa Ireland and I have been working together for two years on the Dollar for a Dream series, which has produced the print book Last Chance Country, containing our three individual stories. To get to this point, where the book is out, is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to hold a book with my name on it, in a bookshop … and this book has allowed me to do that.
I’ve come a long way from hating group work to loving it, but I couldn’t have changed my opinion without the loads of people I’ve done group work with (the ones after uni, anyway!!). So thank you for teaching me to love working with others.
How do you feel about group work? One lucky commenter will win a copy of our group’s print book, Last Chance Country. The giveaway closes on 17 April 2016. (The giveaway is now closed. The winner was Malvina.)
Last Chance Country
Move to the country for a dollar a week!
Dulili is suffering a people drought. Over the years more people have moved away than have arrived to stay in this old New South Wales farming town, and now only a handful of young families and elderly residents are left. The locals put a plan into action to entice newcomers: offering the town’s empty houses to people from anywhere in Australia. Who could resist renting a beautiful homestead for a dollar a week?
Three people, eager for a new chance at life, take up the challenge. Adele, newly retrenched and with a daughter in tow, is living on hope; while newly divorced Bea has a point to prove both to herself and her family. For Lachlan, a farmhouse for a buck, a job and a town to call his own seems perfect. But can he keep his secret in such a close-knit community?
Are the newcomers prepared for the revelations, disruptions and distractions of love?
Featuring stories by bestselling authors Jennie Jones, Lisa Ireland and Catherine Evans, Last Chance Country is a collection of small town dreams, second chances and the healing power of hope.
Includes the stories: A Heart Stuck On Hope, Honey Hill House and The Healing Season.
Catherine Evans is a city-born throwback to country genes. After completing an environmental biology degree, she desperately needed to move to the country. A job in agriculture was the perfect escape. After spending eighteen years in agricultural research and gaining a Masters degree in Agriculture, Cath has a passion for rural life.
Now living on the south coast of NSW, a large part of her heart belongs across the mountain ranges in the red dust.
The Healing Season is her first rural romance.