Saturday, May 28, 2016

Writing Update

Quick and to the point.

Because in 13 hours I will be interpreting a play. And I should already be in bed. But, soon.

Because theater is happening and regular work is happening.

And still, I'm writing.

Last week I made a couple of tightening edits to a short story. Then had to do some major reformatting to the same story because of transferring it to a different system. I complete both tasks and submitted the story to a publication. Patting myself on the back for getting that piece done and submitted.

On Friday 5/27 I finished more edits to the piece I took to the Methow Valley Writing by Writers conference. I had to make some cuts so that it fits the submission guidelines for another publication. Then I got feedback from my critique group, which I read through again, applied as fit my vision for the piece; tightened it up and made some clarifications. And I sent the edited manuscript to my critique partners.

Writing is still happening. And submissions are happening.

All is good.

Now, really, to bed. I have a show tomorrow ... um, later today. ("Grand Concourse" at Artists Repertory Theatre; I'm interpreting the matinee at 2:00.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Percolating and Sifting and Flow

At this time a week ago, I was returning to my room at Sun Mountain Lodge, near Winthrop, Washington. I had just completed the first full day of the Methow (pronouned MEH-TAU, I learned) Valley manuscript conference put on by Writing by Writers. The day before had been a full day, comprised of 8 hours of driving with another writer along for conversation, checking into our rooms, conference registration, dinner, a mandatory welcome meeting, and then an hour in our specific author cohorts.

Lidia's group at Writing By Writers Methow Valley
But the first day of workshop and panel and meals with the evening activity was last Thursday.

It was a powerful experience. I met some wonderful writers and reconnected with a couple of others from other workshops. I received helpful feedback on my ~15 pages and shared feedback (in the new Lidia-style-critique). I heard great writing. Went on walks and a short hike. Took turns on different patios and decks. overlooking the Cascade Range or the pool or a meadow. Drank in the bar. Attended a wine tasting. And more.

I left feeling energized about my writing. Confident about my writing. I had a better direction to go and left knowing my writing is solid and I can do this and I will do this.

Even after a few days of working long hours, I am still working on my writing. Even after diving into the script and the production of the next show I'm interpreting I am still carrying around the feedback and advice and insights about my writing. I also kept my Tuesday writing time, which I used to edit a piece for submission and that also doubled as my submission for my critique group.

As I typed the above paragraph, I realized that what I submitted to the critique group is double the length we agreed to share for feedback. I just sent the group an email and asked them to ignore half of it. See? Enthusiasm at writing!

Writing by Writers, led by the incredible Pam Houston, was a wonderful writing conference. Worth the time and the money. And I would do it again. They have other writing conferences - generative and manuscript and combination - at other locations. They will be returning to Methow Valley next year and I may return, as well.

With a completed final draft of the manuscript, I hope. I have set a goal for myself for a revised draft completion. I have also identified some blocks of time where I can focus on the manuscript, because part of the work I'm doing will be easier if I have time to focus in and not be distracted by work, and especially not by theater.

It was a great five days in Methow Valley.

I'm working hard to keep the writing flow going, even though the word river has to pass through and over and around some reeds and boulders in the stream. But nothing is going to stop me now.

And I have my Corporeal Writing underwear for the days when I feel doubt trying to take over.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Dream Team of Author Faculty

Do you remember when I went to the coast and I had to finish the writing to submit? Which I did.

I'm here now, in that place where I had to send the writing.

I'm here above Winthrop in Methow Valley, with mountains all around and landscape turning green with the recent rains and wildflowers popping out all over.

I'm here at the Writing By Writers conference, at the end of day two.

This is a beautiful setting. The Sun Mountain Lodge is incredible - the setting, the building, the rooms, the staff. And the beds. My bed is so comfortable that I didn't have any problems sleeping through the night yesterday. Which is not my norm. The food has been good, the coffee plentiful, and we have our own room for dining.

The participants are meeting with one of four authors over the four full days of the workshop: Ron Carlson, Pam Houston, Andre Dubus III, and Lidia Yuknavitch (I'm here). Today we had a whole group panel with the four of them speaking about how to keep going when it (writing) gets hard. This was followed by readings from the fellowship recipients.

After a break and time on our own (about 90 minutes, during which I wrote) and then after dinner, we were treated to readings by Pam and Andre. Delightful, of course. Tomorrow night we will get to listen to Ron and Lidia; which will also be delightful.

I am first up for critique in my writing group tomorrow and I should have been asleep two hours ago. Instead I've been writing and catching up on a few emails and reading over some notes I took earlier today. It's okay. I'll just have a little extra coffee with my breakfast. And I will probably take a nap in our three hours of on our own time on Friday.

Now I really must sleep. Breakfast comes early when the workshop starts at 9 AM, before that, the alarm.