Tag Archives | writing workshop

Five on Friday: July 8, 2016

RocksWell, howdy. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Five on Friday, mainly because I’ve been busy doing stuff but no particular things stand out, if you know what I mean.  But since I know you’re just dying for an update (ha, like you don’t have five million things going on yourself), here goes:

What I’m pondering: Podcasting. As in, good ones to listen to. Podcasts for writers and creatives. Got any recommendations? Also, as in, maybe I’d like to start one. Do you listen to podcasts? Would you be interested in one on motivation, inspiration, productivity, etc., for writers and creatives? It is somewhat of a big production so I’m pondering this even longer than usual.  I get these big ideas and then realize how much work they are going to be and forget about them.

What I’m watching: Le Tour de France. I’m so excited to be returning to that beloved country in two short months (I just booked my Paris hotel today) and I adore the shots of the glorious countryside. There’s only one problem–all those bicycles zooming along are like the best soporific ever. Hub and I both fall fast asleep.

What I’m reading: Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo, so that I can read his newly released sequel, Everybody’s Fool. And because we might use it for the France workshop.  And books on organic gardening, weaving, and food.  Oh, and Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt’s book, The Rainbow Comes and Goes. 

What I’m looking forward to: A writing retreat on the Oregon coast with my friend and biz partner Debbie. Two full days to write! I’ll be working on the most recent rewrite of The Bonne Chance Bakery.  And a few other bits and pieces here and there.

What I’m excited about: Rocks! Some time tomorrow, God and the delivery truck willing, we will have gotten a yard of small river rock dumped on our driveway apron. We have an awkward spot in the backyard by the fence to our neighbor’s backyard. We love our neighbors. Our visiting dogs love their dogs.  So much running about and barking in this area ensues, leaving it unsuitable for gardening.  So it is going to become a sculpture garden.  It is likely that I am more excited about this project than hub, because my job is to rake rock as he loads wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load and transports it to the backyard. Fun times!

What are you working on? What has your attention?  Please leave a comment and let me know. Also–there’s one spot left in the France workshop. It’s going to be awesome!  Let me know if you’re interested.

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A Writer’s Miscellany

AnotherReadThroughI kind of love the word miscellany, whose official definition according to the Google is ” a group or collection of different items, a mixture.”  It sounds charming and old-school and like it would be said by a schoolmarm wearing a Little House on the Prairie outfit.  And honestly? The word and all its implications is way more grandiose than the collection of items I have for you today.

Which all have to do with me. I hope that still makes them a  miscellany.  Anyway:

Thing #1: I’m doing a special love-themed reading in honor of Valentine’s Day at my favorite Portland bookstore, Another Read Through.  The date is February 13th, from 1:30 – 3 and I’m appearing with several other local authors. Since the theme is love, I’m pondering reading the sex scene from Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior. (Which for reasons unknown to me is selling in the used section of Amazon for $58 and up, even though it is still available new.)

And since this is a miscellany, I’ll tell you a funny story about the sex scene, besides that it was the one thing agents commented on over and over when I was shopping the novel.  Anyway, my daughter and son-in-law have a habit of reading books out loud to each other in the evenings (at least they did, before they managed to produce two boy children).  It was Russell who read the sex scene out loud and when he was finished, put the book done and was silent for a moment, then said, “My mother-in-law wrote that. Not sure how I feel about that.”

But reading it out loud in the comfort of your own home and reading it out loud in front of a group of people are two different things. So I’ll probably chicken out.

Thing #2: The very next weekend, in the very same location, my biz partner Debbie and I will be presenting the second round of our workshop, The Ins and Outs of Publishing.  It is a day-long workshop with lunch provided and our first group loved it and learned a lot.  We cover the entirety of the publishing world and bring in our friend Angela Sanders to cover self publishing. You can read more here. But let me also add that the bookstore is a great spot to hold a workshop.  Elisa has a cool upstairs loft that we use and we sit surrounded by the mystery section. I dare you to attend and not buy a pile of books (since the bookstore is mostly used, you can go home with a stack for not that much money).

So that’s it, that’s my miscellany.  And now I am off to the bi-weekly writing group, loosely called Wednesday Writers, that Debbie and I torture run.

What’s going on in your writing world?

Photo from the Another Read Through website.

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While She Was Out

PrintshopI grew up partially in my Dad's printing plant.  One of the many things I loved about that was hanging out in the front office, which was cleaner and more organized than the rest of the shop, but not by much.  And one of the best things about the office was the office supplies.  I particularly loved the pads of paper headlined "While You Were Out" with handy pre-printed lines to write the message on. I LOVED those pads.  

Alas, they did not survive.  But check out the photo to the left of some simple scratch pads that did. The business itself did not survive the onset on computerized printing in the eighties, and went bankrupt.  Tough times.  But I digress.

Because the point is that I will be out.  Overseas. Across the pond. Gone fishing.  Whatever.  It is time for the annual Let's Go Write workshop in France, this year in Collioure.  Last year, I think I actually managed to post once or twice, but maybe I just made that up.  It might well happen this year, too.  

But I have also made provisions for while I am out.  I have lined up a couple of fun oldie but goodie posts from the archives, written and scheduled a couple of new ones, and also created a couple of link posts that I think you'll like, drawing on the eight years of content (and 1266 posts) from this blog. So there you have it.  All will not be lost.  There will be a dim shadow of a Charlotte here.

But, alas, I've put the Inventive Writing Prompt blog and weekly posts on hiatus until I get back. But don't despair.  As of this writing, there are 392 prompts there, so that ought to keep you busy for awhile.

One more thing–don't forget that my Get Your Novel Written Now class starts in October, and I've extended the early bird registration until I get back so go SIGN UP NOW.

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5 Things on Friday: Feeling Frazzled Edition

Paris-parigi-eiffelturm-1577018-lWhy I'm Frazzled: BECAUSE I'M LEAVING FOR EUROPE ON TUESDAY. That's why.

What I'm Reading: Same thing I was reading last week, The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer.  I'm about 10 pages from the end, and was going to finish it at lunchtime but then the phone rang and I got distracted.  But, for your curiousity pleasure, here is a list of books I've downloaded to take with me:

The Last Time I Was Me, by Cathy Lamb

My Very Best Friend, by Cathy Lamb

(She's a Portland author and when I learned from a friend at church that she had stayed up until 4 in the morning reading Lamb's most recent book, I decided to check her out.)

Splinters of Light, by Rachael Herron (love her!

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (love me a good science fiction read every so often and this one is loooong–great to take on a long flight)

There's no way I'll get all of those read, especially because last year on the way home from Paris I discovered that watching movies back to back makes the time pass really quickly, and when I'm traveling I don't read as much.  But I like to be prepared.  Because, what if the Iceland volcano blows and we're stuck in Europe? (We should be so lucky.) I will need books to read.

What I Have Left to Do Before I Leave: Host one family dinner, engage in a board of directors bonding outing, attend one birthday party, finish reading one manuscript, exchange one cardigan, write two newsletters, get my hair cut, and pack.  That's not so bad, is it?  Is it?

What I Love This Week: My new phone.  The Samsung Galaxy S4 Note.  It has a stylus!  A freaking stylus!  I went to the AT&T store on Saturday and ordered it.  (Wasn't in stock, small store.) Had great service there.  Went to a different AT&T store on Wednesday where they could do a data transfer and had, um, shall we way, interesting service.  As in, all the worker people telling me, "You're switching from an Iphone to a Galaxy? Girl! You're going to be back in here telling us you want your Iphone back."  Also telling me I have way too many contacts (Is 323 really that many? I didn't think so, either.) And so on.  Hear me now: I WILL NOT BE IN THERE TO SWITCH BACK. Because I'm stubborn that way.  And because I love my new phone.

What Will Happen to This Blog While I'm Gone: Read my post Monday to find out.

Happy weekend! What are you doing this weekend?  Something fun?

Photo by al lannin.

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Five Things on Friday: August 14, 2015

Sunset_401450119_5UwyR-XL

I saw a sunset just like this one!

Where I've Been: I kinda fell down on posting at the end of last week (no 5 on Friday post) and the beginning of this week.  That's because I was at the beach.  I stayed with my family at my daughter's in-law's house in Garibaldi (thank you, Dennis and Carlene).  We also visited old, old, old (and by old, I mean since birth) family friends in Arch Cape.  I shouldn't be posting about Arch Cape here because it is pretty unknown, as in on a weekday in summer the beach is deserted, and I would like it to remain that way.  So don't go there, (as one of our favorite governors famously told people about coming to Oregon to live), please.

What I've Been Reading: Have I obsessed about Dietland here yet?  It is the best book I've read in ages, so full of unflinching, radical and incredibly brave commentary about body image and the way women are treated in North America.   Every woman should read it immediately.  Men, you should too, but prepare to become very defensive.  I'm now reading The Ambassador's Wife, by Jennifer Steil.  I kinda put it down to read a couple books about writing, but I like it well enough.  

What I'm Excited About: A really, really, really, really good publisher is considering my novel, The Bonne Chance Bakery.  Think good thoughts, please!

Where I'm Teaching Next Fall and Winter: I'll be teaching my Get Your Novel Written Now class right here online this fall, starting in October and early-bird pricing is good until I leave for Europe on September 1st.  And then, for those of you farther east and south, I'm part of the staff of the reborn Room to Write in Nashville in January.  Join me at one or both.

What I'm Obsessing About: Clothes.  As in, what to take to Barcelona, Collioure, and Paris.  I gave away half my wardrobe (not exaggerating but I will admit to having a lot of clothes) earlier this summer and felt like I had nothing to wear.  So I've been ordering things like crazy.  I love shopping online.  I think I have it all figured out now.  And I realize how very lucky I am to have this problem.

Oh, and by the way, I'm going to try my best to post regularly from Europe.  Yeah, that worked out well last year.  But on the off chance you've had an idea for a guest post, this would be the time to hit me up with a query about it.

And also–follow me on Instagram because I'm going to be posting photos from my travels there, and at the moment you can see pictures of Poo and Mr. Rock.

What's going on in your world? Please do tell.

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Writing Wild and True Presents: From Spark to Story

Join me and fellow writer and creative coach Terry Price as we teach a nine-hour, two-day workshop in one of my favorite places on earth, Nashville.  The workshop will be held on Friday, May 1, from 6:30 to 9:30, and Saturday, May 2, 9:30 to 5:30 (with a long lunch break to give you time to write). The workshop will be held at the gorgeous Scarritt-Bennett center, which features delightful grounds and a central location near coffee shops and restaurants galore.

Here are the details:

Do you have an idea for a story that you’re yearning to get onto the page?  Or maybe you’re well into a writing project but you’re stalled?  We can help!  Join us May 1-2 at the lovely Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville for a two-day, nine hour workshop that will spark your imagination, fire up your writing practice, and burn writer’s block to ashes!

From Spark to Story Workshop is just that – Like flint against steel, our workshop is designed to spark your imagination into inspiration. Then we’ll teach you tools and techniques to help fuel the sparks to ignition. We’ll send you home with ideas and practices to keep the embers burning through the creative process.

From Spark to Story Workshop is a presentation of Writing Wild and True, a creative venture by writers and creative coaches, Charlotte Rains Dixon and Terry Price, both former program directors for The Writer’s Loft at Middle Tennessee State University (now MTSU Write.) Charlotte and Terry both graduated with MFAs from Spalding University in Louisville and currently serve as faculty for MTSU Write.

Charlotte lives in Portland, Oregon, where she writes novels and coaches writers.  She also leads workshops world-wide, including Collioure, France, in 2015. Her novel, Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior, was published in 2013 and she is represented by Erin Niumata at FolioLit. Charlotte’s website is www.wordstrumpet.com and you can reach her by email at charlotte@charlotterainsdixon.com.

Terry is a Tennessee based writer and creative coach and retreat and workshop facilitator and has 2015 retreats set for Taos and New Harmony, Indiana. Terry also has a schedule of online creative webinars set for 2015. He has published several short stories, two of which have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is currently revising a short story collection for publication and is writing a novel set in Nashville, titled An Angel’s Share. Terry’s website is www.terryprice.net and you can reach him by email at terry@terryprice.net. 

The Spark to Story Workshop will be offered for only $129 which includes all instruction and materials (meals are on your own). However, if you sign up before March 15th, the total registration will be $99. For more information and to register for the workshop go to www.wordstrumpet.com or www.terryprice.net  If you have any questions, just contact us at the email addresses above.

To register, head on over here and sign right up!

 

Writing Retreat in France

270px-Pézenas,_Hérault_01I’m beyond excited to be returning to France to co-lead another workshop/retreat. We’ll spend a week in Pezenas, a lively city in the south of France, where we will write, eat French cheese and chocolate croissants, drink good wine and write some more. Interested in joining us? We’d love to have you, but spaces are limited. For more information, check out our website.

Writing Around

When I was working on my recent workshop for The Writer's Loft, I had a brilliant realization.

There's writing. Objects-stationery-draw-10141-l

And then there's writing around.

So you don't think I'm the densest writer on the planet, I've known this forever, but haven't known known it, if you get my drift.  Writing around is something I've always practiced but never named.  And I'm going to bet every bit of money in my bank account that the same is true of you.

Writing is when you're working on your actual project.  Writing a chapter, scene, paragraph, sentence, or word that will (with perhaps some editing) eventually appear in the finished product.

Writing around is when you are writing, well, around said project.  Working on a character sketch, for instance.  Or making endless notes about where the plot is going.  Journaling about the storyline, or why the location of the big break-up scene should be moved. 

And so on and so forth.

There's a whole hell of a lot of writing around involved in writing.  I'm guessing here, but I'd bet that the ration may be as high as 3:1, with the amount of writing around being at least three times higher than actual writing.

Which is fine.  Writing around is necessary and important.  Novels, memoirs, articles and essays do not get written without it.

But what's not fine is when we don't give ourselves credit for it.  Sometimes we're so concerned with our writing output that we forget to count all the writing around.  Maybe I wrote 5 pages of notes on my novel, but no actual scenes.  So I beat myself up, thinking I didn't get any writing done. 

When in truth, what I got done–writing around–was probably nearly as important as the actual writing.  Because without a lot of writing around, there isn't going to be any writing.

How else will you:

And so much more.  So remember the value of writing around, and next time you write 3 pages of notes on your next story, you get official bragging rights.  Because, you have been writing, sir or madam.

Do you have any writing around wisdom?

**FYI, I'm trying really hard to get back to a regular posting schedule.  Not every day (how did I ever manage that?) but three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Come back here on Wednesday because I have an exciting guest poster lined up!

Photograph by danzo08, from Everystockphoto, where you might have noticed I get all my photos, because I am such a creature of habit and if it works, why fix it?

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