In January’s newsletter I addressed the age-old either-or debate about writing style—plotting out your work before writing (plotters) or writing by the seat of your pants (pantsters)—and attempted to rebrand them as navigators and wanderers. Briefly explaining the differences between the two and confessing I’m a chronic navigator, I then touched on the benefits of incorporating aspects of each approach in your writing.
On July 26 at 7 pm PT I’ll dive deeper into the topic in a one-hour online workshop, “Are you a Plotter or a Pantster?” Hosted by the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, it is free for members and open to non-members for $10 (the Guild is a nonprofit humanities organization). I’ll detail the two approaches and cite famous examples of both. (J.K. Rowling? Navigator. Margaret Atwood? Wanderer.) I’ll also address how to both maximize your own approach to writing and embrace part of the other approach to truly perfect your work. (Longtime readers of my Artist’s Road blog may recognize a theme here; I often wrote about and lectured on whole-brain thinking, incorporating the left and right side of our brains when being creative.)
I’d love to see you on screen on the 26th! Apologies to my East Coast friends for the late hour (although I know many writers who are night owls).
Forming a Fellowship
Thoughts on Membership in a Creative Writing Group
Are you in a creative writing group? I am now in an online one with two of my fellow 2021 VCFA Novel Retreat participants, and we meet for the first time next week. While I find some aspects of online engagement frustrating, this model works because we live hundreds of miles from each other. Our goals to start are modest: One meeting per month, one-hour sessions, and two-page submissions a week in advance. I’m very excited for our first meeting.
What expectations should I set for this group? I’ve been in two writers’ groups in the past, one in my 20s and one about ten years ago. They met in person, and each had about six members (a good size because invariably one or two couldn’t make it). The rules varied on when you could submit, how much, and whether you could do so in advance. My recollections of those groups don’t involve specific feedback. They are more about the sense of fellowship, a connection with peers also seeking to balance life’s obligations and their creative muse. I have yet to form creative bonds like that since relocating to San Diego, but doing it online will be a great start.
Do you have a new creative work coming out? A book tour, exhibition, or recent media interview? Let me know and I’ll give you a plug in my next newsletter!
From my previous policy advocacy on behalf of creatives to this newsletter, my goal has always been to highlight creatives and their contributions to society and culture. I’d love to hear from you!
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