Monday, November 07, 2016

Weekending with kindred spirits

This past weekend I attended the North Carolina Writers' Network fall conference in Raleigh and had a fabulous time attending workshops, a master class in subtext in fiction, and the best part, talking and spending time with bunches of kindred spirits: my fellow writers.

Writing can be a solitary venture. We spend time, if not necessarily alone in offices or rooms, with our faces and minds deep in the screen of whatever device we use to write down our words. Even a yellow legal pad and a blue ballpoint pen pulls us in so we aren't really present with the people around us. 

Add to that the fact that serious writing is a lifestyle, a long-term journey, and an endeavor that often involves rejection many times over before there is acceptance and fanfare, if there ever is that. But anyone who keeps writing does it because they have to, not for the reward of publication or recognition or fame.

So imagine a conference full of writers, all having so much to say that so many of their friends and families don't really "get" - there was a constant buzz of conversation in between the workshops. In the halls and bathrooms and at the bar, by the coffee tables and in the banquet room, around the book tables, everywhere.

The long hallway that stretched outside the meeting rooms was lined with booksellers and their wares. Literary journals, novels, books of poetry, nonfiction work. Browsing, talking, bumping into writers one knows, writers one is just meeting. It was a lot of fun.

In addition to the master class I learned about the problem of plot in nonfiction and uncovering emotion in characters. Met Rita Mae Brown's agent and listened to Margaret Maron talk and Shelby Stephenson sing and read from his evocative poetry. It was inspiring. 

North Carolina is known as "the writingest state." NCWN hosts annual conferences in the spring and the fall and also a summer residency workshop each year. Come join us! 


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. Glad you had a good time and met lots of kindred spirits!

billie said...

Thank you, Arlene - it was such a nice weekend!