Everyone in our novels workshop commented by week’s end what a terrific group we had. This was my first writers’ conference, but I’ve read enough commentaries by published authors to surmise that this was an unusually focused and compatible set of people. I’m sure I’ve been spoiled for life.
Instructor Lily King, whose books (see prior post) have received much critical acclaim, kept us on track all week. We read and commented on two writing samples each day, concentrating first on what we liked about a piece and then on aspects we thought could be improved. Afternoon sessions, which were open to all workshop participants (novels, short fiction, poetry, memoir) zeroed in on topics of interest to everyone (e.g., tightening language, revising drafts, incorporating humor, giving readings).
Both in the morning and the afternoon sessions, opportunities were provided to engage in brief writing activities. Combined with lunches catered by Stonyfield (visit their natural-foods restaurant at Rtes 1 and 295 in Falmouth; Stonyfield Café), the week was a delicious composite of learning, writing, and socializing/sharing.
Yesterday I went online and joined the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance ( MWPA). I look forward to continuing the feeling of mutual involvement in a group that serves a ton of talent.
Lily ended our time together with a discussion of writing goals. We each wrote down the goals we could commit to, and then we read them to the group to cement them. Even though I’ve always thought I was an owl and not a lark, I’ve learned that I do my best writing in the morning. My routine, which I started this morning, will be to sit at my desk to write from 6:30 to 10:00 each morning, six days a week. By this time next year I plan to have a publishing contract for a three-book series, with book one completed, book two in final revision, and book three drafted. There. Now I’ve committed to you as well.
Oh, you’re wondering how my material fared under the group’s scrutiny? I’m happy to say it was not ceremoniously rejected. But I do have a bit of hard work ahead of me. That’s okay—I’m looking forward to it.