Midwest Writer’s Workshop Here I Come!

I’m busy trying to write this blog from the slowest connection known to man! The WiFi is free though, so who am I to complain? Yesterday, I left home at 4 AM and flew to Indianapolis, Indiana. On my way from home to Atlanta, I sat next to a guy who works for the Sister Schubert people–you know those little rolls with the sausages in them. Yum. He talked to me all about Disney and his life, and now I know how to plan my vacation next year. The next stint of the trip, the guy sitting next to me put in earphones and read. He looked like a pilot, or definitely someone who worked for an airplane company, but he looked concerned when the plane landed and it felt like the wheel was coming off too!

All and all, my flights were great. Then I had to pick up my rental car from Hertz. I had called the week before trying to confirm my pickup, and they told us, “Just come here and do it. You can’t check-in online with this type of pickup.” Okie dokie. So I catch a cab (my plan) to the Hertz place. And it’s closed. And I call Hertz from said-cab, and they tell me to come back to the airport. I come back, and they tell me they don’t have a car for me there so I need to go to the Brownsboro Hertz. The guy at Hertz said Brownsboro was 15 minutes away–try 20! I was upset by this time, but Mike at Brownsboro made it all okay. He comped my car $75 (I spent $130 on taxis yesterday). Then when I told him my phone was dying he gave me a car-charger some poor schmuck had left in his rental car. He upgraded me–to a Corolla (I wonder what I would have been driving if that’s an upgrade?). And then I drove to Muncie which is pretty damn far from Brownsboro. I have to say, I kept my cool the whole time. I wanted to cry several times, but I just pushed forward. A few years back, I would have had a major meltdown, but there’s no use wasting energy on something I can’t change.

Last night I met a fellow writer friend, Michael Simko, and his lovely family for dinner at an Egyptian restaurant. They tried new things. I had the gyro platter. Then I came back to the hotel to get ready for this lovely day to begin. I’m beyond excited about meeting new writers, learning new tidbits, and generally having a great time at this conference. Maybe these mid-westerners can learn a thing or two from this Southern Gal too.

The Coffee Tastes Good

Yesterday, I marked one of my goals off the list for the year: Attend a Writer’s Conference.

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Photo Credit Goes to Sheri Williams

So far my goal list for the year looks like this:

  • Publish a Book done on January 31st
  • Attend a Writer’s Conference done on February 28th
  • Query an Agent done on January 18th (I think that’s the right date)
  • Publish a Second Book by May In the process with “The Devil Within.” 

2015 has been a great year for my writing, because I made it so. I dreamed it, but more importantly I started living the dream.  Right now, I’m struggling to look at edits on my book and swallow my pride. I’m struggling to make necessary changes so my book can become the best book it can be. Stay tuned, because in the next few days I’m going to show you the photo of where the idea for my book came from!

At the Mid-Winter Writers Conference yesterday, I traveled down the road with a friend, writing companion, and my project manager: Sheri Williams.Sheri is just like she is on the big ole world wide web: funny, easy to talk to, and inspiring. She’s one of the most giving people I’ve ever met, without that little word expectation stuck to her.

I think my favorite workshop was done by Ashley Kitchens, “Say It So They See It.” She used poems by Carl Sandburg and e e cummings (reminded me of my days in Mr. Franek’s class) as examples. She started out showing us a sentence, “The Coffee Tastes Good,” and as she went through the poems we changed it.  Interestingly enough, “painted ladies” are apparently better known as prostitutes than whores (and only Sheri will get that!). By the end the phrase, “Coffee Tastes Good,” had changed dramatically showing us how the coffee tasted instead of telling us. My coffee phrase: Poured in the cup, it calls me to my day. That’s how I feel about coffee, it keeps me going at 4:30 AM. Oh and all that delicious, rich, titillating stuff too.

I also enjoyed Ellen Maze’s workshop, “Plot and Characterization: Bringing Fiction to Life.” She had the best sense of humor. She had a list characterization questions that should be answered on your character, at least your main character, before you start writing. I already do this, to a certain extent, but not as deeply as she does. I’ll use her outline in my next book and see if it helps my characters seem more three-dimensional.

Overall, I thought it was a great conference. I met some amazingly talented people. And we know, thanks to Kathryn Lang that it’s all about relationships. Because really it is. To be a writer, you need to have people supporting you, social media contacts, and people who are willing to spread the word for you. You need people to bounce ideas off of, to say, “Does this fall flat? I was trying to convey this, did you understand the picture I was trying to paint, the feeling, the emotion that came with it?”

You need someone to say the phrase, “The Coffee Tastes Good,” doesn’t convey meaning. What are you trying to say? Conferences are great for that, giving you a whole new way to think about your writing, and giving you a community who can help you in your journey, one who specifically knows what you’re going through.