Sunday, February 14, 2010

writing group update

This weekend is the February writing group meeting, which reminds me, we probably need to give it a name, just for fun.

We are small but fiercely determined to make 2010 one of the best writing years in our lives.

The snowfall on Friday night melted away quickly on Saturday morning and it became obvious travel would be fine, so D. headed out from her place and we decided when she arrived to pack up our notebooks and laptops and head to the local coffee house to do the business part of our meeting.

We agreed when we formed that we'd use the group to set goals for ourselves, and to discuss all the issues that are coming up for writers in this age of digital media. The Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad all make it possible to publish independently and quickly, and while many people are viewing that as a decline to come in the overall quality of novels, we're choosing to view it as an opportunity for new and unique voices.

There's been so much to talk about these last few months, but it is satisfying to have a place to sit and not just gab, but write things down with intention to get them done before we sit together again.

It's even better when you're doing it in the embrace of a mini-retreat. D. comes bearing Mediterranean food and wine in fun print cloth bags that make you smile just seeing them. She arrived this weekend sporting a new haircut, and jewel-colored clothing, and when we agreed to drive to the coffee house, I threw on my brown boots and my black poncho/cape and it felt like we were heading to a party.

A productive party. I had an entire page of notes by the end of it, as did she. We had scheduled our next meeting, discussed a longer writing retreat later in the year, and inked in full slates for ourselves for the next month.

Back at November Hill, we laid out all the food for dinner and took a break from book business. Around 8:30, we met in the garret to read pages out loud. D. read from a new project she's writing, and I continued where I left off last month in my pony book.

The garret is now my sandplay office, and because I've done a lot of writing and a lot of reading out loud in the company of my sand trays and collection, it feels perfectly right to be doing it again. One of my favorite things in the world is reading my pages out loud to other writers who take it seriously and offer constructive feedback.

Which is yet another reason for this group: to celebrate the joy of writing, reading, and just being in the company of other writers. It rejuvenates the writing soul.

Today we made breakfast, took it back to our respective rooms, and are working for another chunk of time before reading out loud again, once more before D. heads back to her house and a jazz concert.

D. has started a wonderful new blog that chronicles her take on writing this year. I'm stepping into her fold, and I invite you to join us!


Jane said...

I'm game!
Does "Dreck" count as a project? I have a LOT of that. I also have "Revised Dreck" and "Coming Along Dreck".

Hopefully that's the point. Work hard on one's dreck, and build up the anit-dreck muscles! :)

ponymaid said...

Billie - warmth, food and a comfortable group of like-minded old friends. You are in exactly the right place. By the way, is the new picture at the top of your blog what your farm currently looks like? Be still my beating heart. I can picture the nephews snacking on those tasty pink and white blossoms whilst soaking up the sun. A donkey can dream.

billie said...

Oh my, Jane!



Rough drafts? Works in progress? Revisions?

Am also contemplating the concept of editing the life out of things, which I think doomed my first novel.

So for that one I am actually going to perform an un-edit.

When writing feels like work, I think something is wrong. If it felt like work, I wouldn't do it.

But I'm an odd bird, so ...don't mind me. :)


billie said...

(the 54w was added by Apollo Moon, aka Moomintroll, who clearly has feline thoughts on this matter)

billie said...

Sheaffer, the photo above is most definitely a fantasy and my personal statement against the continuation of winter here.

Friday night as the snow fell, I changed the photo in a fit of frustration and rebellion.

The photo is spring on November Hill, and if I can't have it in real life, I WILL have it on the blog!


Nachodonkey said...

I wondered if it was a current picture also. I was just packing my bags to come visit when I read your response to Sheaffer's query. Even though you are sick of winter, spring will visit you much sooner than here. I have always been a tad envious of your early springs but from what I hear your summers are much like our winters in that outdoor time is limited to certain hours when the temperature is bearable. I think your insects might be larger too and in greater variety than our black flies and mosquitoes. We all have something to put up with.

I think your house is stunning whatever the season.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Love the spring picture, I'm sick of winter too. Another inch last night.

You sound as if you are all going to have a wonderful time with your writing group. I think it's very brave to read what you have written to other writers. I would never have that kind of confidence. Have a productive time.

billie said...

Nacho, spring here is usually a delight, but summer will bring heat, humidity, mosquitoes the size of almonds, and horseflies the size of plums. Not to mention the fire ants, fleas, and ticks.

However, birds and (I hear) guineas eat the ticks, ants eat the fleas, bats eat mosquitoes, and dragonflies stalk the horseflies. We root for the natural pest control, have big industrial fans in the barn, and use fly predators for stable flies. And I offer late afternoon hosings to interested equines. Thus far the donkeys graciously decline!

The only solution to our woes is to set up summer and winter homes and wander between them like gypsies when the seasons change.

Alas, when all you donkeys put your heads together and come up with a grand scheme to roll in the cash, we'll buy an entire neighborhood of farms in mutually agreed upon weather havens, and all converge there during our worst months!

billie said...

Arlene, you would be able to read in this group. We would lure it out of you! :)

I have meant to report here that Gerd Heuschmann is doing a several day seminar titled "For the Good of the Horse" about 30 minutes from us in May, and I think you and j should come!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think j and I would love to take a field trip down in May,if only we could find someone responsible to take care of the equine children. I hope you get to go, I'm sure you would enjoy it.

Dawn said...

Billie---it was an awesome weekend. So excited about the projects we got going on. Thanks for the awesome hospitality at November Hill....

billie said...

Totally agree, Dawn - thanks for bringing your amazing self!