Story: 2. Me: 0.
The last month was tough. I worked diligently on Cursed, was just coming to the rising action, hit a bit of a roadblock, and then attended a writing workshop.
What does this last have to do with anything?
If you’ve ever attended a conference or workshop, or if you’ve had the pleasure of having your manuscript or excerpt critiqued by knowledgeable folks in the industry (mine was not selected for this at the workshop, sadly), you might be familiar with the dueling emotions of empowerment and crippling despair.
Which were exactly the feelings with which I walked away from the workshop. I wanted to simultaneously storm into the industry with my best works and cower in fear as I burned all my writing.
This isn’t, of course, the intention of a workshop, and I got over it pretty quickly. But it encouraged me to take a step back and apply the wonderful advice and suggestions I gleaned from the gathering. I realized in a hurry (as in, while I was listening to the speakers) that if I tried to submit what I considered my “best writing,” I wouldn’t get as much as a glance from an agent.
So, I’m scribbling at the storyboard again. This is fine, because I wouldn’t trade what I learned for anything. I consider the time and money spent to be there one of my best investments in the last year, and I’m hungrily searching for other workshops and conferences (if you know of any in Florida, I’d love information!).
In a few other posts, I’ll summarize some of the things that I learned from the workshop, but for now I will say that I managed to get 55k words into draft two before I decided it wasn’t working. I’m scrapping most of it, though I think the concept presented in my first line is still good. I’m working now on a much slower, much more structured story, with a few good tips I learned from the workshop in mind. This won’t make the draft anywhere near perfect, but at least it’s a head start.
This month is Camp NaNoWriMo! If you didn’t get a chance to participate in NaNoWriMo, can’t wait for November, or want to ease your way into writing 50,000 words in a month, head on over. You can set your word goals to whatever you wish, and you are assigned a cabin with other writers—cabinmates—with whom you can do camp. It’s fun, especially if you get a talkative cabin.
This camp, I had intended to continue with the second draft of Cursed, but it’s really just become a brainstorm (more like a brain hurricane at this point) for what I hope to be the final rewrite. At some point I have to work with what I have and leave it at that.
Have you ever gone to a writing conference or workshop? What kinds of ideas, inspiration, or education did you take away with you?
Some stats for March:
Words Written: 71,730
Minutes Spent Editing: 1016 (~17 hours)
Minutes Spent Reading: 1656 (~26.5 hours)