Maybe because it’s Monday and the start of a fresh new week, or maybe it’s the way my coffee kicked in with that handful of M&M’s I just ate, but either way, I’m excited.
Last week, I signed up for a Novel Workshop. The workshop speaks to writers who “have a good portion of their novel on paper and want some constructive feedback…instruction, support and discussion.”
Perfect for me for three reasons:
1. I’ve been all talk lately about rewriting the first draft of my novel — talking on my blog, talking in my morning pages, talking out loud to myself in front of the laptop too late at night. But now, this workshop guarantees firm deadlines, and there’s nothing like accountability to force the issue and say, “Rewrite. Or else.”
New writers are slowed by learning activities: studying published works, experimenting with techniques familiar to the old pros, fumbling with prose in search of an understandable or unique style, squeezing writing time into already busy schedules (or developing the habit or sitting down to write), and working through emotional blocks (all those mountains and sinkholes we create for ourselves).
I have sat in that place of more contemplation and study and less writing for months. Now, I want to ride the pendulum back to center and apply some of my new insights. I want to write stories as often as I study the craft of storytelling.
3. One of the peripheral reasons for taking this course is connection. So far, all my writing and learning has happened online where “face-to-face” means interacting with avatars. The internet is a great security veil for me. I’ve taken more risks than I thought I could, and I have been rewarded with new writing friends and great resources.
However, I’m still hiding. If I want to be taken seriously as a writer, then it’s time I show up in the real writing world. In “Close, but No (Literary) Cigar” (from the Writer’s Yearbook 2010), Rachel Estrada Ryan says:
“…Universities, bookstores, libraries and the occasional coffee shop often bring in established writers and agents…I highly recommend showing up to such events; they offer a great way to meet (and, with hope, endear yourself to) successful people who might be able to help further your career” (p. 31).
I doubt I’ll meet any agents in this workshop (though you never know). But, I’m sure I’ll meet other local writers, some of them established writers with their own – local – connections. I can’t wait for the chance to sit among them, listen and discuss, and introduce myself. Not as a “writer on the side.” Not as a “writer- wanna- be.” But, a Writer.
If you signed up for the same workshop, you’ll recognize me even before introductions. I’ll be the one holding a strong cup of coffee, wearing a giddy smile, and sporting a brand new fancy pen with paper.
Hoffman, Scott and Ryan, Rachel Estrada. “Close, but No (Literary) Cigar.” Writer’s Digest, The Writer’s Yearbook 2010. Special issue: 28-31. Print.