I start an online Gotham Writing Workshop this week which excites me on so many levels. Not only is my current short story getting tighter and tighter with each re-write for MFA applications, but I will have more eyes looking at my work (and have the opportunity to contribute my comments to other writers’ work)!
There are those days in which a writer can’t even produce a word on the page and other days when words flow freely. Lately, each time I do write, the words come freely and I’m completely taking advantage of that! I have had many times I sit down to do the work at my allotted day and time and nothing flows. The Internet becomes more appealing. I research hair products. Plan for a spa day. Research what to do for the rest of the day or tomorrow or next week or three weeks from now. And that’s how distraction works, doesn’t it?
My most recent intimate writing workshop has me juiced for awhile to not only work on this short story but to also contribute to the chapters I’m currently posting on my blog. My writing colleagues inspire me every time I read their work (both have such different voices and so great in their style), and they remind me why I write.
Most recently, I attended a lunch held by Streetside Stories which provided me with the insight into my purpose on this planet. I love writing and I want to encourage and empower the youth to have the best literacy skills to take them far. Writing is one of the best skills a person can have and I want to help foster and strengthen this skill for the youth.
I have spent a large amount of time focusing on myself and what to do for me and honestly, right now, it’s all about maintenance. Now is the time for me to give back to the community and give my time to those who need it the most. My researching has led me to many organizations like 826 Valencia, WritersCorps, and Reading Partners. Now I have Streetside Stories. I know I can make a difference in a child’s life and writing has led me there.
Re-visiting this blog, I realized how much I enjoyed it, even though there were a small portion of folks reading my posts. But I enjoyed it overall!
After two years, I’m going to be contributing once more but with more of a focus which will once again, include my MFA process (take 2 for real this year), posting my work (more on that later), posting play reviews, my experiences in SF (location change!), book reviews (I miss writing them for my blog), and so much more!
I made business cards with this address on them and I hadn’t contributed in two years. Feeling rejuvenated with having a steady writing schedule now, making time for writing and also being part of a writing workshop, I’m on a roll and I don’t want to lose that momentum!
A few weeks ago, I went to a Blog Your Book Panel which provided some helpful information on how to put my work out there. There have been a number of people who have been discovered on blogs (’cause many people have one now) so why not contribute to my writing blog that I so enjoyed before?
So, dear readers that are still with me – the beginning of April will have more of a steady agenda of upcoming posts and a bunch more fun activities for me to share with you! I can’t wait to talk about writing and books with you all once again!
I recently got my copy of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook by Tom Kealey back from a friend who borrowed it (and was accepted to Goddard College) and was transported back to two years ago when I was in the “MFA zone.” All I did was research, revise my story, research some more, talk to people, research some more, and prayed I’d get into an MFA program. When I was rejected by all seven schools, I took a break. But man, it was brutal to try to put yourself on the page, sell yourself, and want to study with other writers. Continue reading
How do you connect with other writers?
At work, I overheard two co-workers discussing writing and I was reading a book as they conversed. I didn’t want to sound like a know it all because I’ve taken workshops, worked in publishing, blog, completed a novel, written short stories, and am familiar with the life of a writer without the publication bragging rights.
I sat there, excited, because I wanted to share my insight and experience so badly but I held this all inside because I had no idea how I would come across to them. One girl writes sporadically and has taken one writing workshop while the other co-worker self-published a trilogy (I believe; I was eavesdropping after all) without having taken a writing workshop in his life!
I see these folks every day and this would be a great way to make a connection with my co-workers, especially since I don’t know anyone at my current temporary job now. I don’t have the slightest clue how to speak up because I am so knowledgeable about it all.
How do writers connect outside of the writing community (like at work)?
*Update (10/7/10): I have since connected with these folks and it was so easy to do! Once you step out of your comfort zone, everything else falls in place.
March of this year, I received a rejection letter from the University of Arizona. The letter went something like this:
When I was in high school, I had a writing friend. She was writing a fictionalized account about her experience with a crush while I…can’t even recall if I was writing as much as she was.
Now that I am not participating in a writing workshop, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I proposed an idea in which we would get together, write (like with my other writing workshop) and then catch up. She gave me a book called Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors as a birthday gift years ago. I started reading the book about four years ago and never completed every exercise. This time around, I will fulfill my goal of reading this book from cover to cover – just like I did with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way three years ago.
Tuesday night I attended the last class in the summer cycle of my writing workshop. One person was not present for critiquing (which makes me wonder, real time conflict or resistance to listening to criticism? But I digress) and the other person was.
I must say I have never delved so much into another person’s work as deeply as I have in this workshop at FDCAC. What sets my instructor, Laura Pegram, apart from the other instructors I’ve had is her devotion and compassion for illustrating what sets mediocre stories apart from exceptionally written stories by respected authors in the writing world.
I read authors like Edward P. Jones, Louise Erdrich, and Edwidge Danticat – all authors I’ve never heard of until this workshop. The introduction to different authors and styles aided my voyage to finding my voice on the page. I was exposed to the heavyweights in most of my classes like Mary Gaitskill, Margaret Atwood, John Cheever, Junot Diaz, ZZ Packer, and so on; this workshop exposed me to more authors of color that are probably well-known in literary circles but not familiar to me.
Apart from a fantastic instructor, my classmates provided very helpful and supportive feedback that I will use during my revision process. They were present in class, constructive comments, and most importantly, contributed useful suggestions when revising my story. Not just suggestions like, “If I would have written this, I would have included this…” but more on the lines of, “Perhaps a scene illustrating why she was feeling like this in the first place would make the end result clearer to the reader.”
I wish every writing workshop was like this and every instructor was like Laura! I cannot wait to take another workshop next month. FDCAC is what’s up! Gotham, take notes.
This morning, I finished a short story for my writing workshop. I was enchanted and completely involved in my story like I’ve never been before. I was lost in the story, I liked what I was writing, and although I know the tale has many places where it can benefit from some description, the first draft is complete. The only place to go from here is the revision state.
I was in the revision zone last year with a piece I had workshopped in so many places and the result was a polished story lacking emotion. I read the manuscript myself a few days ago and was impressed with how I crafted my tale but as for impact, there was none.
With this story, I can build on it without making my message saccharine but truthful and honest. My goal is to put myself entirely on the page, which I was unable to do with my piece for MFA applications.
I have officially decided to put aside applying for an MFA degree this year; I’m having too much fun writing both creative non-fiction and fiction to worry about application deadlines. The good news is I can attend university open houses and start saving for school when I apply for 2012. Seems so far away but time will fly.
I’m focusing all my energy on my craft and also running, but that’s another entry (when I finish Marukami’s book) so I will be busy this fall.
How’s everyone about to apply this round doing? Psyched? Scared? Who’s taken the GRE? I’m so glad I never have to take that test again!
I’m writing. I’m reading. I’m reading about writing. I’m reading about writing as a writer. I’m writing about writing and reading. I’m doing the work. But I’m not MFA application ready.
I want to be so solid that I’m a shoe in. I want to spend another year thoroughly researching my programs and have a great manuscript ready for the applications. My spirits are lackluster in applying this time around and I’d rather not haphazardly apply in the hopes I’ll get in and then kick myself for not providing myself with more time to hone my work.
I’ve made my decision but am open to suggestions. Should I wait another year to apply or should I apply this year?
Last night, I hung out with a friend I made when I was in film production. Every time I hang out with her, I am inspired to create. I feel the same way after a writing workshop, meeting, or panel I attend. Creative people omit energy that can’t be described. I know because I feel it and maybe I omit the same thing too.
On Monday night, I met two women that told me I look like a writer. I’ve never heard me described as a “writer” before. I don’t know what a writer looks like but I was filled with pride and glee. I’ve awakened my creative energy and I’m no longer shying away from my passion. Maybe it’s because I see writing/creativity/imagination in everything now more than ever, and am writing everything down that those women saw that in me? Whatever the case may be, I was proud to be seen as a writer.
Writing is such a solitary activity, ya know? So when you connect with a fellow creative person, you feed off of each other’s energy and push each other to keep going.
I look forward to making the time to create with my friend and other fellow writers. There’s nothing like a collective artistic force banding together and making art.