I helped start a writing group.
|This was our first official picture (almost a year ago!)….we’ve since acquired new members|
I say “helped start” instead of just “started” because I had had the idea in my head for some time. But I needed to meet the right writers to make it happen. Had they not agreed to be part of the adventure, there would have been no adventure.
|I guess over time most writers turn blonde.
(this is a more recent pic of some of us on a road trip to support Kim Prince in her stage debut)
There are two main reasons why I wanted to have a group like this in my life. One, I needed the support and accountability that comes from being part of a fellowship. I have had this experience before in my life and found it worked quite well. Second, I thought if I surrounded myself with writers maybe I could convince myself I too am a writer. I still have my doubts. But they tell me I am and that is great to hear.
One of the original members above, red haired Charlene Ross, participated in an online writing train where writers talk about their Writing Process (At the end of her post, she picked three writers to ride on that train. She picked me as one of the writers.
Again, I am grateful that she considers me a writer and also that she picked me from the many writers that she knows and (wait for it), I will do that too. You know, to keep the train going. So if I pick you, please join us on this lovely ride into the workings of our inner selves. And if I didn’t pick you it means 1) I didn’t know you wrote a blog bc I really had to wrack my brain to find the three I did or 2) you’re not a writer but are a reader, so please kick back and join us on this journey.
Why do I write what I do?
I write mainly three things (not counting Facebook status updates). I write short fiction stories, non fiction stories and blog posts. My heart is in the fictional worlds I create like this one. It’s also an opportunity for me to work out my fears and feelings about things happening to me or to our world. It’s a little like an exorcism. A way to get out the demons and the jesters that live in my head. There are observations I’ve made of people and the world in which we all live. I am always looking and taking mental notes. I’ve written much more in my head than I’ve ever written on paper. Sometimes, I’ll even grab a piece of paper, if there’s one handy, because I know if I don’t capture the thought, it’ll drown in the thousand of others that follow it, never to be seen again. Stories are like that too. I’ve procrastinated on stories I thought were so original then watched a movie, that was my story, being told by someone who didn’t wait around to tell it.
My non-fiction started when I decided to major in Broadcast Journalism in college. That in itself was a victory and I kept expecting people to laugh when I told them what I was doing. It was only my father who commented how unpractical this was because it is such a competitive field. (This was a recurring theme in his parenting me) But I had a plan. I was going to become a well known reporter and then write a book, thereby already securing a built in audience. Well, I didn’t wait long enough to become a well known reporter (my instincts for success conflicted with the seemingly accelerated pace of my biological clock) but I did start writing for print newspapers and magazines while I was pregnant with Kaleb. That was the last bit of free time I regularly had to myself. It’s only now that the kids are in school that I can start focusing on that again.
My blog is almost like a free sample for prospective readers. Since I never became that famous reporter, I need to give out bits of myself for readers to know whether I taste good or not. I figure, if you like the various styles I offer on my blog, then maybe you’d be interested in a longer format piece, like the books I will someday find the time to write. Plus, I don’t have to get anyone’s approval to publish the things I want to write. All I have to do is hit the publish button.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think if we’re talking strictly blogging, my work tends to be sporadic and disorganized compared to the official blogging sect. But it’s also original because it’s my work being presented by me. I strive to be really honest and I try to present things in an interesting way. I suspect that if I found more time to actually write, I would get much better at this.
How does your writing process work?
If I show up to write in front of my computer, the words will come. No matter how many excuses I make beforehand or activities I find to distract myself, once I arrive to write, I write. Then I edit. And edit.
Since joining the writing group, it’s become a lot easier to convince myself to just get in front of the screen and start typing. I know some people prefer paper but I think my brain is trained to work with keyboards and formats where it is much less messy to edit.
What am I working on?
I am lucky to have been offered some stories to write for LA Parent magazine. They are amazing to work with. Very warm and supportive – obviously a theme I seek out in my writing life. From this platform, I intend to submit to more national magazines, probably parenting ones since that is the place in my life where I happen to live.
I also have a few sci-fi shorts I have written and am editing and will be submitting after just having my first one actually published.
I also had a huge gift fall into my lap. A friend introduced me to someone whose life story needs to be immortalized. It is interesting on levels that scrape beneath the skin. I have spoken to this person many times now and we are evolving his story into one that will become the first book I will have the honor of writing.
Ok that’s it from me.
Let’s invite some new conductors onto this train of self discovery.
Julie Gardner is the newest member of the Writing Safety Tree – our writing group. She used to be an English teacher and her notes on works in progress are sweet and priceless, just like her.
Laurel Jansen Byrne is a friend from a group that helped ease me into motherhood, the Westlake Village MOMS Club. And she turned out to be a writer and was the cherry I needed to help me make this sweet concoction of a writing group. She’s also probably the only one of us that has a actual education in creative writing.
And Jessica Craven, whose simple and precise words make my heart bleed regularly when I read them. I haven’t seen her offline in ages but she came to mind when faced with the assignment of finding three talented bloggers to choose for this fun exploration into self.