Unrevised Guide to SDWI
Focusing on writing a novel, I’m not good for much else. I don’t mean that disparagingly. It’s just that the endeavor takes all of my strength. And it creates in me a perfectionist unwilling to spin off a blog post in any reasonable period of time. We learn to revise. Rewrite. Throw away. Two years spent on a paragraph. My urge: pick at this opening paragraph for four hours. Three weeks.
This is my long way of saying: I appreciate this opportunity to communicate with fellow writers, to speak from the trenches my own limited perspective, stoke the flame of conversation. (Two metaphors in a sentence. Revise.) And life gets in the way, yes, and so does the writer.
SDWI can go one of two ways for you. It can be another institution in the ages of institution. You can attend the workshops and be trained in your craft. And you should. But there is something else going on.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. In an age of Tweets and texts it gets harder and harder to find some quiet time and the discipline to delve deeply into human consciousness. We need encouragement. We need partners in crime.
In this age or any, the writing life and the temperament of the writer puts us at risk of curling into oneself. The writer dreams of being the posthumous legend who had perhaps only three friends and was seen in public fourteen times and redeemed all that loneliness by leaving humanity with a bevy of creative work. So be it, but more often your favorite writer was part of something larger than herself. I think of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin sharing a dark night of storytelling with her future husband, Percy Shelley, and his poet pal Lord Byron. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is a product of her inner creativity, sure, but the canon of literature owes equal gratitude to her community.
If you see where I am going with this, if you agree, you might wonder how to get involved. You might be shy. You might not like people too much. You might prefer television or books. I think it is simple enough for you to nibble on the calendar on Ink’s homepage and visit some of the things going on. It’s also helpful to have some discipline and perhaps make yourself stick your neck out.
Two years after following my own advice, I have dozens of friends and acquaintances. In addition to the benefits to my writing, my life has been enriched, and I have met some of the most wonderful people, and some lifelong friends.
I started by attending the Tuesday afternoon writing prompt group, now led by Judy Reeves at 3rd Space (moving to the new Ink Spot next week). I also took part in consultations with two published writers. The critiques were helpful and the people (Jim Ruland and T. Greenwood) are priceless. I attended Room to Write on Sundays and Elle Brook’s Wake Up and Write on Wednesdays. Then I started my own group, presently on Mondays (about to move to Tuesdays). Somewhere along the way I began blogging here. And I look forward to the first Friday of every month, Dime Stories, an open mic for writers, though I miss it more times than I would like.
Bookmark the calendar. You’ll find your own way, and perhaps develop one of those indelible writer relationships like Wallace-Franzen or Lewis-Tolkien, in personal reward if not fame.
T.C. Porter is still revising and writing his first novel. And cutting and rewriting and deleting. He has a website with links to many social media platforms where he is followed by a zillion jillion people, which he learned is a good thing at a social media workshop for writers.