Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The joy of sharing what I know

This past week I've been in Naples, Florida. Monday and Tuesday, I co-presented at a writing workshop with my friend Karen Casey. Karen and I have complementary styles and that worked out great. She knew just what to say to bring out the content of the stories we were asking the 30 women to write and I knew most of what to say to bring out their confidence that they could write them and write them well.

I love teaching what I know about writing: zero drafting, staying out of editing mind when you're drafting, being willing to write crap so you can practice and get to the good stuff. Writing specifics, including dialog and description; taking things deeper.

We spent two days in a church rec hall, eating ham sandwiches and cookies and trying to keep the room cold enough for those of us who were too warm and warm enough for those of us who were too cold. And we spent two days writing and reading to each other. We started off with the writers reading their drafts in groups of three although we made it very clear that anyone could choose to not read. I was delighted to see that only one woman passed that first day. At the end of the day, we asked anyone who wanted to come up to the microphone and read. Six volunteered and read wonderful drafts.

Yesterday, day 2, we had much more reading to the whole group and the stories were moving and inspiring and we laughed and cried with each other. By the end of the day, only one person hadn't read at the microphone, preferring to read to just one other person.

I'm so glad I'd agreed to come, that I agreed to be part of this experience. I learned a lot from Karen about content and evoking deeper feelings, and I got to share my beliefs about the importance of writing our stories and encourage 30 women to do just that. I'm so lucky!

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