Key West events/festivals, making things, Prose, writing

Writers groups, self publishing, and a gazillion Kindles in search of content

Finally the new year is here and I reflect on what has happened this past year. Probably the single greatest change is my dedication to the Casa Marina writer’s group and the collection of short stories I released in August. In 2012, I resolve to get my current novel,  a work-in-progress, out by Spring and then another in the Fall.

I know the Casa Marina group will hold my feet to the fire and that’s exactly what I need. I have participated in other writing groups and they are all different.  What works in this one is the dedication we have to polishing, perfecting and publishing our work. We bring in unedited pieces at our own risk.

We six members must be getting what we need from the group, as witnessed by the high attendance rate and elegant production.  We try to review each others work with honesty and respect. For me, the only thing worse than heavy handedness in a critique is false praise.  Occasionally, tempers flare and disagreements arise because of the passionate nature of writing but all is smoothed over if the critiques are sincere.

If you want to hear three of us read from our work, we have a few reading & signing dates. Here’s the first in the new year – Jan 5, 2012.

Plantation Coffee Press Release-Reading

But enough about me – here are a few suggestions on how to begin a writer’s journey.

Join a local writer’s guild – I’m not saying stay in a guild, but this is the first resource when looking for your ideal group. Maybe the guild works for you but sometimes it’s too large or lacks specific focus.  Nothing happened for me until I became proactive.  I stopped bitching, stopped waiting for a circle of fascinating intelligent writers who just happened to have a chair in the center with my name on it. Instead, I decided to form one myself.

I feel the same way about waiting for a publisher, agent. I no longer willing to wait until someone discovers me.

This year kindle sales topped one million per week in December. Yes – per week!

And if you have own a kindle,  you need content and this is where we come in. I have had my kindle for about 6 months now and am growing increasingly fond of it. I still marvel at how easy it is to read when traveling or in bed. I remember wrestling with  Venice, a hefty 700+ page tome by John Julius Norwich. I vaguely recall the weird pillow configs I came up with to get comfy enough to  read myself to sleep. A great read and well worth it but something to consider before bringing it on the road.

Writing Workshops vs Critique Groups

There is a big difference between a writing workshop and a critique group. A workshop troubleshoots – usually has a leader and welcomes unedited work, sometimes gives assignments and focuses on particular problems. A critique group presents edited pieces for the keen eye and ear of members, looking for flaws,  inconsistencies, always with an eye to getting published.

How to Discover your Inner Artist

If you haven’t discovered your inner artist and are not sure which form your creativity will take,  begin at an earlier point – This is something I did when I was floundering, wondering if I really wanted to write again. I took “The Artists Way” with Roz Brakenberry at TSKW The class was a real eye-opener. The focus on creativity was exactly what I needed to quell my inner critic and get on with the delightful, maddening work ahead.

But whatever you do, don’t wait, do it now, the apocalypse is upon us . . . .






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