I had the opportunity yesterday to participate as a faculty member at Writespace’s Writers’ Family Reunion. Writers of all stripes from all over Houston (and beyond) gathered at Silver Street Studios to meet, greet, and learn about the writing process — from how to get started, through how to keep going and included the multiple paths now available for publication.
Meeting a writer new to Writespace, who was warm and wonderful. So glad to know you Hilda Davis!
Speed Dating for Writers: I am sorry I did not climb up on something to get an arial view of this activity. Michael put down a masking tape map of Houston on the floor of the warehouse, handed out a survey for everyone to fill out that would help them network. He first grouped writers by their home location to say “Howdy, what do you write? Wanna meet up sometime? Here’s my contact info.” Then he moved them to about five different groupings, including genre, experience level, and several other fun options, leaving them enough time to say again, “Howdy, what do you write? Wanna meet up sometime? Here’s my contact info.” Brilliantly done — and fun to boot.
Then on to browse the sponsor tables and play writerly games.
The neverending story was hilarious. Pull a slip out of a hat and write a sentence inspired by your slip that builds on the previous line in the story. Try working “fern” into an intergallactic story that includes a squished alien caterpillar.
Poetry building included meg-size magnet words on a sliding metal door. Pretty soon we were scavenging each others’ haiku for enough words to complete our own verse.
First page critiques were a lot of fun. The energy of a new writer is something that fuels my fire for writing. Pam and Richard at our table both had so much going on that I really wanted to read more! (There was one other woman whose name I didn’t catch who wrote a wonderfully evocative scene!) K.J. Russell and I combined forces to provide critiques for these three aspiring writers.
Then on to breakout sessions. Over the next two hours, panels of local published writers discussed:
- My Journey as a Writer: What I Wish I Knew When I Started
- Writing Your First Novel
- How to Create (Or Join!) a Great Critique Group
- Publishing 101: An Overview of Options for New Writers
- Reading Like a Writer
- The Benefits of Promiscuous Art-Making: How Exploring New Creative Mediums Can Vitalize Your Writing
Now I can’t wait for Writefest the first weekend in May when I get to gather more fuel for my writing engine.