When the going gets tough, it’s tempting to close and laptop and back away. Writing is a struggle for all of us, and yet, if we back away, we’re just pushing The End further down the line.
This morning I awakened at 4:45 in a terrifying nightmare sweat. It was the first time my memoir crossed the line, jumped from my manuscript to my dreams. I was glad to see the light of dawn fade the darkness.
I’m that close to The End.
It’s been a long slog that I wish I had shared somewhere, somehow. Living these past twenty months in a new location, I haven’t yet joined a regular writer community and it shows in my insecurities.
Reading aloud, especially, is a great way to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your work. Reading aloud to yourself is OK, but not as effective as reading to an audience.
I (very recently) asked if I could read a couple chapters of my work to two very new friends for feedback—one male, one female, two diverse individuals—two different chapters, two different occasions. It reminded me that there’s no substitute for the value of community for honest feedback and support.
It also reminded me that I should look for the someone who needs my support. We all need help finding our way through the darkness.
I’m participating in two writer conferences in the coming months. These are an opportunity to learn and share that I look forward to every year.
I know many writers wonder how much they’ll get out of a conference for the time and money spent. If you’re wondering that, know that it’ll be worth it. I’ve never yet left a writer event that didn’t lift my spirits and send me home inspired and recharged.
Some West Coast events coming up:
The Pacific Northwest Writers Conference is coming up July 28-31, 2016 in Seattle. Note that if you can’t attend the conference, you can still take Masters Classes. www.pnwa.org/
The Magic of Memoir conference is October 15 and 16, 2016 in Oakland CA. A specialized event for memoir writers. I’m attending it for the first time and it looks promising. http://magicofmemoir.com/
The Northwest Writers Weekend takes place Nov. 4-6, 2016 at an old-fashioned camp in the woods about a half-hour’s drive from the Southworth Ferry WA (take from Fauntleroy/Seattle). This weekend is unique in that it includes workshops on songwriting. Bring your instruments! Great sense of community here. http://www.nwwritersweekend.org/