Writing Workshop #1


Last night, I went to the writer’s workshop meeting. I got really close to chickening out, though, because I felt all anxious about meeting new people and I had no idea what kind of writers these people would be. I mean, at the last writer’s group I was a member of, most of the women wrote cookbooks, memoirs and non-fiction about domestic abuse and breast cancer…. stuff like that. Only one other woman wrote fiction (my friend Dana) but that was it. I didn’t feel like I fit in there.

This new group definitely has fiction writers. Interestingly, almost all of the members are probably about 50 and older. I think about 10 different writers read some of their work last night, as we squeezed in around a long table at the Village Inn. It was loud in there, so it was hard to hear everyone, or be heard… it’s kind of a shame they meet in such a loud restaurant, but maybe it’s the only place they’ve got. The range of skill was pretty vast. Most of the stuff was pretty bad, honestly. Several stories were incomprehensible… I had no idea what point the author was trying to make, or find a real plot. One story had a character that suddenly became OCD right in the middle of the chapter, but in the beginning she’s throwing her clothes on the bedroom floor. There were also a few memoir-type pieces, and an essay that was insanely terrible… it was written like it was a piece of legislation or something, and was apparently about living a life of passion vs. living a life of reason, but DAMN, this guy’s writing was rambling and ranting and basically confusing the shit out of everyone at the table, you could tell.

Other people had no idea how to pace a story, or write dialogue, or write in the active voice. Oh, boy. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I kind of got the feeling that I’m ahead of the majority of these people with my own writing’s development. I’ve learned a lot over the years about what to do and what not to do. It’s great these people are part of a workshop where they can begin to learn this stuff, too, and get some feedback. I’m just curious to see how much value I can get out of this, personally. I need some strong writers to tell me serious critiques. I do NOT want to hear, “Oh, that was so good.” Nope. I want to hear, “Ugh, you really dragged this scene out” and “your dialogue for this character is very stilted”… that kind of stuff. I hope I do get that, out of this workshop.

I didn’t bring any of my own writing last night, after deliberating about it all day. I wasn’t sure which thing to bring. I have a range of pieces, and I am hesitant to start trying to workshop my main book with a new group of people. I think I have a better idea of what I can bring to the next meeting, now. I also know that I can bring pretty much ANY of my stories and it’ll be good.

God, I feel like I am being arrogant again. I just get the feeling my stuff is a lot better than what I read last night, that’s all. Now, a couple of women there had some good stuff. One woman named Mona wrote a short, sweet little story about a 70 year old woman getting a marriage proposal from a lonely old cowboy and it was well done. I told her so, and I told her WHY it was good. She was very descriptive, used great grammar and punctuation, her dialogue was adorably perfect… So I think, with her, I might be able to get somewhere. I think she knows what’s she’s doing. She seemed very happy that I gave her detailed feedback, too; she just opened up and chatted after the meeting. So, yay! I may have made a friend. But look at me, picking out the best writer in the bunch and latching on to her. I’m judgemental. 😉

So, that’s how my first writer’s Meetup in several years went down… YAY. I wish I was more psyched than I am, but it’s OK. Maybe once I get feedback people will surprise me and it’ll be worth my time. Plus it is always good to read bad writing once in awhile, just so you remember again what not to do in your own work.

I’m still eating healthy, although it’s getting spendy. I have to go to the store double the amount I was doing before, because of all the fresh produce I’m consuming now. And the organic stuff isn’t cheap… I have been getting organic ready-made juices and things like that, but buying regular berries and melons. I’m addicted to my 3B breakfast smoothie every morning, too! Yesterday I was out of blueberries and blackberries, so I just had a banana and some granola and it wasn’t nearly as satisfying. I love that I have one perfect recipe that I love, and that I tweak here and there to change the taste. Today I added a few strawberries to the mix.

Total pounds lost as of this morning: 9.

I can’t believe I am one pound away from losing my first 10 pounds! This is pretty exciting. Little by little, it’s working, and that’s really encouraging.

Oh, and I ordered my own Breville Juicer on Monday night. I got it on Amazon Marketplace. It’s a couple steps down from J’s monster-deluxe juicer, but still exactly what I’ll need. And it was about $150 cheaper than buying even a used model like his. Anyway, I was so surprised to see the box on my porch when I got home yesterday… it arrived in two days, even though I paid for the cheap shipping and didn’t expect it to get here for at least a week or so. I haven’t opened it up yet, but I’ll do it tonight. I’ve found several do-able juice recipes to start transitioning veggies into my fruit-based juices. That will be the key: transition– none of that immediate, all-out veggie craziness that made me puke one day into my so-called ‘detox’. See? I’m gettin’ smarter! Word.

I don’t know if you have seen this yet, but Airborne now has chewable tablets. So much better if you don’t have water around (for me, it’s a cup that’s the problem) and kind of tasty, too. If you like the taste of chewable vitamins, that is. Which I do. Anyway, I wanted to share the news about it because this is cold and flu season, and this could help fight some of that off.

Today my brain’s like buckshot– all scattered everywhere. I’m having a tough time focusing on one thing at a time. I have two emails in the process of being written (minimized), I’m proofreading the latest magazine page proofs, I’m blogging, and I’m researching the cotton industry for another article. I hope that after lunch I will get my brain to condense down again and focus. I hate when I get this way.

Hey, new 30 Rock tonight!

(See? I’m all over the damn place.)


4 responses »

  1. Huh. Chewable Airborne… I never thought of that!

    I think you are going to be the swift kick in the pants that writing group needs- I’m sure everyone will learn from the example you are. Giving Mona such excellent feedback is a huge lead and a great start- folks will sit up and pay attention, then try to follow suit. We teach people how to treat us, do unto others and all that.

  2. Thanks for the TV tip. I’ve been catching up on 30 Rock in syndication, but I wasn’t sure when new episodes would start airing again.

    I think it’s only natural that you gravitate toward the good writer(s) in the group; you’re there to learn, after all. Sometimes, though, bad writing can be instructive, as far as What NOT to DO.

  3. Of course you are leaps and bounds ahead of those writers because you are amazing! You’ll be teaching them some tricks before long. 🙂

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