Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordstock Round-Up


Wordstock was awesome! I attended classes all day Saturday and Sunday and wasn't bored one bit. Husband was out of town last weekend, so I was a little hesitant to run off and be gone for two full-days, but things worked out great and the kids had great fun with their sitters, including my Mom who was in town from Utah. The kids love their Nana.

The classes I took were great. Here is a quick run-down on a few of them:

I took a class on the nuts and bolts of the freelance writing industry from Laurie Sandell who currently writes for Glamour. She was wonderful, funny, extremely down-to-earth and had tons of wisdom for all of us wanting to break into the freelance market. The main advice she gave was to KNOW YOUR MARKET!

I had the opportunity to learn how to balance the writing life with everyday life from a woman who truly knows what it's all about. Carol Cassela author of the new novel, Oxygen, is a nurse and mother of two sets of twins who were born fifteen months apart. If she can write books with all that going on, I'm golden.

Maria Semple said this in her workshop on how to write a great story, "Don't think of yourself as a story teller. View yourself as a story beholder." She also said, "have confidence in yourself, observation and experience. Be careful of the crisis in feeling not interesting or of worth for anyone else to read."

The last class that I attended was called Fire & Ink: Activist Writing taught by Frances Payne Alder. I wasn't sure of all this class would entail when I signed up, but was interested as I have a heart for students who deal with school bullying. I have to admit, that when I saw Alder before class wearing her tie-die head wrap I had to talk myself into staying. It's not that I have any qualms with the likes of hippies or the activist-minded, but it was the fact that I didn't enter that room in the mood to roar, and I had a strange feeling that I was about to be challenged.

So when Alder asked that each of us introduce ourselves and tell a little about our "cause" for social activism I began to feel extremely anxious. Quite a few heartfelt causes were shared, but the one that will stay with me was spoken by a little seven year old girl named Grace. Her mom had brought her to this class so she could learn how to become a social activist for the issue of the lack of school funding in schools today. She spoke bravely several times and was the only class member who read her writing to the others. She wrote far better than I would have expected a seven year old to write, and it was eye-opening to watch such a young mind be stirred into action.

It turned out that there wasn't enough time for all of us to speak, so I was happy to keep my jumbled mess of thoughts to myself and observe. It also turned out that Alder didn't expect any of us to roar, which I was very happy about. That class was the perfect ending to a great weekend. I was provoked to look beyond myself and my writing and see a glimpse of the greater cause. Alder says activist writing is a form of critical inquiry and an act of social responsibility." She asked, "What is the cost of what is written and what is not written?" That was enough to make me stir.

Overall, this last weekend I learned:

awesome ideas+great writing+self-marketing skills+confidence+persistence+tough skin+persistence+tough skin+persistence=

the writing life.

I'm game.


Loredana October 15, 2009 at 8:49 AM  

I am in complete envy right now. I want to take these classes, they sound AWESOME and inspiring. The 7 yr. old, all the advice, thats great! And then the last bit-
What is the cost of what is written and what is not written?"

SO VERY TRUE! And something we writers should make a nameplate out of and walk around with all the time. We, I speak for most of us, beat ourselves down with our writing. We're not good enough, who's going to listen, does it sound right? etc and honestly ,we should just be writing and throw caution to the wind and let things be where they may.

Good luck with your writing!

shannon October 15, 2009 at 9:21 AM  

Sounds like an awesome weekend!! Can't wait to hear more about it :)

Britt October 15, 2009 at 1:34 PM  

Yay! I am so glad it all went well! I am excited to hear more and I'm excited for you as you take each new step in achieving your goals! Way to go Cas!

a little bit biased October 18, 2009 at 8:59 PM  

So happy for you Cass. I'm sure that was pure heaven for you to attend those classes.

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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