One year ago, I was busy putting words on paper but was only starting to meet other writers. I remember my first Clarion West one-day workshop. I was ridiculously nervous (imposter syndrome) and, I fear, terribly unsociable. And that continued to varying degrees for some time. I’d walk out of a class wondering why everyone else had made friends except for me. All I needed to do was look in a mirror — think outside of myself for a moment. Everyone in the room with me was feeling the same way, they just dug up a little more courage.
My writing network is strong and full of interesting and talented people who I highly respect. Twitter makes a great writing water cooler and I kick myself for my hesitancy to get on the bandwagon. Furthermore, I’ve got a critique group and a writing group that assist me in motivation, progress, and improvement.
The writing group is particularly special. It’s a group of six unique women writers who share experience and support and honest critique in a dynamic I’ve only been lucky enough to experience a few times in my life. I’ll hold on to that like hell because I know groups like these are lightening in a bottle for most writers.
I’m looking forward to attending the Rainforest Writers Village Retreat next week over on the Peninsula and meeting several writers who I’ve chatted with online but have not met. I’m looking forward to great discussions and intense writing time away from my blasted cell phone, which won’t work in the middle of the forest. I hear there are swans there. And squid who live in trees. But I’m far more excited about the swans.
March also brings a resurgence of published pieces (and a big fat pending submissions queue). Next week, I’ll be up at Treehouse Magazine with my experimental piece of recipe fiction hybrid “From the Kitchen of Helena Wilson.” Later that week, I’ll be featured in their “5 Things” series on the parallels between cooking and writing. On March 18th, I’ll be up at Every Day Fiction with my flash piece “One Night in Bangkok,” commissioned for the 2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon by my partner’s sister, Sara. I’ll also be eagerly awaiting my application to Clarion West itself — a long shot, but an opportunity to study with some amazing mentors and superlative peers.
See you when I get back from visiting the world’s largest spruce.