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On the Ground, Gather, Grow Framework


By Christine Carron

When you go to a writing conference or workshop, if you are anything like me, you want positive change to happen as a result of your attendance. Not only because it’s an investment of your time and money, but also because you are committed to growing as a writer. Perhaps though, you’ve had an experience where you are all jazzed up from a conference or workshop, riding the wave of new possibilities, and you know you are going to be transformed, that you have learned the key(s) to up-leveling your writing adventure like never before, and you come home and . . . 


Life takes over. The memory of the conference fades. And a year or two later you come across your notes in a Marie Kondo-esque decluttering frenzy. You hold that pile of past learning in your hands and not one spark of joy pops. You can’t remember what you were so excited about, yet at the same time have a vague (or acute) sense of disappointment that you didn’t follow through. 

The reality is that a lot of what gets rewarded in traditional schooling is passive learning: remember, regurgitate. No wonder many of us do not have fine-tuned skills for taking charge of our learning experiences, where we integrate new information and take action on it with confidence and consistency. 

Enough with that. It’s time to supercharge your learning using Goodjelly’s Ground, Gather, Grow framework. This framework originated in the work I do leading transformational workshops in the corporate world. I now facilitate Ground, Gather, Grow tracks at conferences, helping attendees enhance and deepen their in-conference engagement as well as their post-conference follow-through.* Let’s dive in . . .


A Ground session is all about preparing for and amping up anticipation for the upcoming learning experience. Here are examples of questions I might weave into a Ground session:

  • What do you want to get out of this experience? Which of those expectations are realistic (i.e., within your control, e.g., network in a professional manner with the agents in attendance) and which are wishes or hopes (i.e., dependent on someone else’s action, e.g., having an agent offer to represent you.)
  • Which sessions are you most excited about? Why?
  • What has to happen at the conference for you to feel like you got your money’s worth? 
  • If it comes up, what is your strategy for handling information overload? 
  • If it comes up, how will you handle self-doubt and comparison?
  • Do you want to use this experience to network and expand your writerly community and connections? If so, what are networking  opportunities (either in person or online)available at the conference? What’s your socializing action plan? How will you make networking fun?
  • How will you clear your schedule and headspace for optimal learning? What boundaries will you set in advance of and during the workshop to support your learning?


Gathers are completed daily. This is where you process and digest all you are learning. Unlike the Ground and Grow sessions that usually last from 45 - 60 minutes, Gathers are short, 15- 20 minutes. Anything longer and it becomes too much on top of (or before) a full day’s learning. The Gathers start with a quick centering exercise and then flow into reflection/journaling time. The prompts vary for each day of the conference but a few standards are:

  • PEARLS: What were your Pearls? Note: Pearls = key takeaways, or magic moments, or things that made you smile. Basically, powerful somethings that you want to remember.
  • JOYS and JUDGEMENTS: Identify anything that you heard/learned/experienced that made you happy, joyful, or hopeful. Identify anything you heard/learned/experienced that frustrated or annoyed you, or that you judged negatively. 
  • THE FOUR: Identify (1) something that inspired you, (2) something or someone you connected with, (3) a process that intrigued you, (4) a technique you want to try/integrate.

When you take time to Gather each day’s learnings, not only does it deepen your understanding and appreciation for the new information/experiences, it also helps your brain and your system reset for a new day of learning and growth. 


This session happens shortly after the conference is over. This is where you first savor the experience and then set yourself up for action and integration. Here is a sampling of prompts from a Grow session. 

  • What was your favorite session of the conference? Does it align with the one you were most excited about going into the conference (that you listed in the Ground session)? 
  • Who are the other writers and/or industry professionals you want to connect with? How and when will you reach out?
  • Are there any books you noted that you want to read? What is your plan for getting those? Order right away, add to a wishlist, request from the library?
  • How was the learning experience of this conference for you intellectually? Emotionally? Socially? What are you proud of about your engagement level? What might you want to do differently at your next conference or workshop?
  • What are your overall top THREE Pearls? Pick the ONE (and only one) that gives you the most happy chills and create (and commit to) an action plan for integrating that Pearl into your writing process/habits/toolbox.

And there you have it. The Goodjelly Ground, Gather, Grow framework for supercharging your workshop and conference experiences. Try it out the next time you attend a conference and watch your learning follow-through bloom on a whole new level of awesome. Sweet!

The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week

  • What is your current process for integrating information you learn at a conference or a workshop? Are you happy with it?
  • Reflect on your last conference experience and do a retroactive Gather session. What were your top three Pearls from that session? Get out your notes, or go from memory. Have you taken action on any of your Pearls? Kudos, if yes. If not, you just created your own learning second chance. Yay!
  • Use the Goodjelly Ground, Gather, Grow framework to supercharge your learning the next time you attend a conference. Book the Ground, Gather, and Grow sessions into your calendar and make them happen. You have got this!

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