Friday, September 4, 2015

The Fall Novel Workshop

I recently had a meeting with Aiden Landman of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. He met with me in his capacity as director of Young Professionals of the Quad Cities. I was representing the Midwest Writing Center. Our purpose: to see how our two organizations, each rich with resources, could work together and help each other.

As I ran through the list of MWC’s offerings of workshops and writing opportunities, Aiden indicated he knew quite a bit about YEW, Young Emerging Writers. This year’s group of teens recently put together the latest volume of The Atlas magazine.

I mentioned that I considered myself a product of the MWC’s workshops and conferences and therefore, while not a young emerging writer, I could be considered an old emerging writer. Not the best joke to make because OEW doesn’t make a good acronym, neither does MEW, mature emerging writer. Failing at humor, I moved on.

The MWC has so many irons in the fire (metaphor alert) it can be difficult to highlight just one.

For instance, the upcoming Fall Novel Workshop with Larry Baker, an Iowa City writer, novelist, and educator.

I took part in the 2012 fall workshop and I found the six intensive sessions to be the best investment I could have made for my novel. It gave me a big dose of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop experience for a fraction of the price—and it was practically delivered to my doorstep.

I was prepared to work and to accept the constructive critiquing of my beginning 30 pages of manuscript.

Pretty much in line with how Larry Baker describes his workshop:

“Writing is not inspiration. Writing is a craft. Writing requires thought, preparation, perseverance, and a commitment to self-criticism; revision requires a writer to go through those same steps again.”

I came away with better work. I built on that work by going through those same steps many, many times. Each editing pass-through shaping and refining the whole.

Now, I am ready to get my novel out into the world, and it will reflect my best efforts.

After all, producing one’s best effort is an ageless goal.

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