The Writer's Loft orientation weekend is over and here's a news flash for you:
Actually, I thrived.
It was a wonderful, informative and inspiring weekend for writers, if a bit exhausting. I've been laying somewhat low processing what I heard so that I can share it with you. Turns out I heard a lot, and that was even with me missing some of the presentations while running around doing admin stuff.
So I'm doing the posts in three parts. Here we go.
Jimmy Carl Harris started us off with a presentation on structure in short story. Jimmy Carl is a former Marine, and great with structure. But I didn't get to sit in much on this workshop, alas. It was the start of the weekend, and Terry and I had things to do. However, I do have one great takeaway quote for you:
"There are good stories. There are safe stories. There are no good safe stories."
Nifty, huh? And very true, too.
After lunch, it was my turn. I did a workshop on Writing Abundance: the Seven Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer, which you can read more about on the Writing Abundance page. At the Friday night reception, our wonderful student Alberta Tolbert graduated, yay! except we'll miss her. Except we know she'll be around because all our loyal alumni come around as much as possible. That night also, Kory Wells read her poetry, accompanied by her daughter Kelsey, who played the banjo. Great show. More about Kory in a minute. Finally, Richard Goodman read from his book, French Dirt, and his soon-to-be-published New York Memoir. More about him in the next post.
Okay, so here's the deal. First thing Saturday morning, I did a Q and A with Richard Goodman about his books and writing. It was awesome, and I mean that in the full sense of the word. All I had to do was toss Richard the merest tidbit of a question and he was off and running. Very inspiring. I recorded the whole thing on my new digital voice recorder and planned to post it on this blog and also offer it to Richard for him to put on his website.
Alas, it was not to be. You'll never in a million years guess why.
Because the dog ate my recorder. Yes, indeed, it is true. I'm housesitting at my home away from home, my dear friends' Sue and Walt's house and their newish dog, Gugi, a rescue from Emmylou Harris's pet rescue operation, ate my recorder. She is such a sweetheart I couldn't even get mad at her. I keep waiting for her to regurgitate some words of wisdom, but that hasn't happened yet.
So even though I don't have Richard on tape for you, I do have some nuggets from Kory Wells' talk on social media. Kory is one of those rare birds who seems to be equally right-brained and left-brained. She is at home in the techy world, which is where she works during the day, and an accomplished poet as well, with a fairly new volume of poems out called Heaven Was the Moon. The perfect choice to demystify social media for writers.
Here are my takeaways:
- You control the conversation online and you get to brand yourself. Because of this, it is vital to pay attention to the profiles you set up on various social media, and the keywords you use.
- Learn what people are saying about you online by signing up for Google alerts. I used to do this; got tired of the volume of emails and un-signed up. Let me make it clear that the volume of emails came from poorly defined search words rather than the fact that a lot of people are talking about me. At any rate, yesterday I signed up again and it has already paid off. I've discovered mentions of myself that I otherwise would not know about.
- Find keywords to use to bring people to your site or blog by checking which words come up when you Google yourself.
- Many connections can be made through "charming notes." This is a concept Carolyn See promotes in her book, "Making a Literary Life." She urges writers to write notes (notes, not emails) to people they admire. Furthermore, she says to write one note a day. Arrrhhgggg! But I think we can pull this practice into the new decade and go for emails, don't you? Kory told a story about how she found the artist for the cover of her book through a charming email. So that works for me.
I'm currently trying to learn as much as possible about social media, and Kory's presentation was really helpful.
Tomorrow (or as soon as I have time to write another post) I'll cover tidbits from Richard Goodman's lecture, "5 Things to Learn About Writing in 90 Minutes."