Hello fellow Children’s Writers, Writers and friends,
Well what a difference a fortnight makes. Although I haven’t strictly done much creative writing, certainly a lot less than I’d like, I have been feeling a whole lot more positive about writing. Why? Simple really, company. Writerly company to be precise. The wonderful renewing, energy-creating experience of spending time with other writers. For better or worse, I’ve joined Facebook. Well, sort of. I’ve joined a wonderful Secret Group of children’s writers who ‘meet’ specifically to share and critique each other’s writing. The first story went up last week and has been reviewed and critiqued independently by eleven other would-be and actual children’s authors, all of whom had some valuable advice which I have no doubt will propel this manuscript forward towards publication. It was interesting to see (if everyone really did work independently without peeking) the commonalities in our critiques and yes, the differences too. My turn is in May, I’m not sure what I’ll send yet, but I know it will be a positive experience.
Speaking of positive writing-related experiences, the other thing that happened to me, just over the weekend actually, was attending my monthly FAW (Fellowship of Australian Writers) branch meeting. It was positive for a number of reasons. Firstly, I got to talk, laugh and learn with other writers and particularly exciting was that this month we had a guest speaker, a children’s writing guest speaker, none other than Dr. Kathleen Warren of The Wiggles fame. (Check the writing not performing credits)
As well as that, I have decided that this year I am going to enter as many of the in-house writing competitions as I can. What is the point of listening to the monthly workshop if I don’t complete the assignment and enter it in the competition? So, this year with no picking and choosing, I completed the poetry assignment handed out last month and handed it up, despite the fact that I know (and if they’d ever had the chance to see it, everyone else) I am not a poetry writer. That’s the point though I guess, I’ve decided that so I don’t try, I don’t enter and I don’t receive feedback to improve. Dumb move? Pretty much, but it’s a matter of breaking through the both the low confidence and the low interest barriers which have a kind of chicken and egg thing going.
Finally, it means I get to write! I get to write guilt-free as this time is set aside in our home, monthly just for me. I also get to write with validation as our workshops always include writing exercises which we get to share and are told both the positives and sometimes quick comments on where to improve by the presenter. How good is that?
As an added bonus and to round off this post with a nice little bookend, we have the option of staying back for critiquing. Critiquing of others and/or time permitting our own work. I always try to do this and I cannot tell you how beneficial these sessions are. I was hesitant at first, not knowing what I could possibly say about how to improve someone else’s writing especially in areas which I was/am unsure of. However, I can at least pick up typos and grammatical errors and say if I find something hard to understand. By attending I have learned from others how to critique and usually have something more valuable to say to someone else now.
Till next time, farewell fellow travellers,
Savour the quest,