Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Taking Advantage Of A Pandemic

My group writing spot

 The Group Write

You may have heard stories about writers getting together somewhere to write. Maybe at a coffee shop. Maybe at a library. Maybe at a little diy retreat at someone's home.

No, I've never done anything like that. I've never seen the point. Why do I want to be with others to write? I am, of course, speaking from the privileged position of someone who doesn't have children at home or a day job to work around. I know some people like to do a group sprint in order to get some control of their time, to force them to take advantage of a small amount of time, and I understand that. In the past, however, when considering a writing get-together I always thought about the time I'd be using to get dressed up enough to be with other people and then drive back and forth to the writing site. How much time will I have to spend on being friendly? And what if everyone works harder and faster than I do? Why would I want to risk experiencing that?

Yesterday, though, I took part in a one-hour noon write-in on Zoom organized by the Greater Hartford SCBWI Meet and Greet Group. Four of us gathered from...wherever...with an image and sound of a fireplace playing on a corner of our computer screens for ambiance... A pseudo-retreat.  We barely saw each other. Chatting was limited to messaging about whether or not we could hear the fireplace and saying good-bye at the end of the hour.

Seriously, this went well for me. I did work the whole hour, beginning writing on a project I've been outlining for weeks. I definitely got something done. I was happy.

This would not have happened if people could get together for real. In a coffee shop or a library or at a diy retreat in someone's home.

A Workshop On My Sun Room Couch

If only I could attend all workshops from here

I wrote here back in April about the digital workshops the SCBWI has been offering for its members during the pandemic. Yesterday afternoon I viewed one that had been originally presented in May, Using Scene To Build Story with Linda Sue Park.

This was an excellent program, especially for those of us who self-identify as organic writers (often referred to as pantsers) and have trouble isolating and working on the elements of a story. Park talked about using character/plot/ setting together.

I probably wouldn't have attended this workshop in a traditional conference setting, mainly because I don't go to that many conferences. And when I do, I look for workshops with "plots" or "plotting" in the titles, hoping that they'll address what I see as my number one writing problem. Given a number of workshops to choose from, I might not have realized that this one would, indeed, address my number one problem.

What Does It All Mean?

Both yesterday's group writing gathering and the workshop were positive experiences for me. And I would never have done them in a pre-pandemic world. I don't know what to make of that. What does it mean for what I'll be doing in a post-pandemic world? Will this type of on-line living still exist?

Well, why speculate about the future, right? I will just live with the more robust on-line life I have now. Omm.

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