Making Connections

As I stated in my last post, I did attend the Susquehanna Writer’s Workshop last Saturday.  What a great experience!  But, before I share all about it, let me tell you how I got there:

I joined Lancaster Christian Writers’ Group a little over a year ago and love attending their monthly meetings.  Almost every month they have a guest speaker who teaches on some aspect of writing, publishing or marketing, and then we have time for critique groups.  Critique groups are so helpful because we can share something we have written or are working on and get feedback from a group of writers.  We get constructive criticism as well as praise for the strong points.  If we don’t have anything to share, we can still participate in the critique group to offer our input on someone else’s writing.  I have learned so much just by being a part of these critique groups.

In the spring, Lancaster Christian Writers’,  (LCW), held their annual 1-day Super Saturday event, a Writers’ Conference.  It was the first writers’ conference I ever attended, and I loved it!  I did several posts on it afterward, so I won’t go into all that now.  That is where I met author, Marsha Hubler, who did a workshop at the conference.  I enjoyed the conference so much that when I was home, I booted up the computer and immediately looked up all of the people, authors mostly, I had met at the conference and connected with them on facebook and twitter and I bookmarked their blogs so I could continue to follow them. I found out about Susquehanna Writers’ Workshop through a link on Marsha Hubler’s blog and I immediately signed up.

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I had a beautiful, relaxing two-hour drive to get to the Susquehanna Writers’ Workshop, and when I arrived, I was surprised at how small the group was.  I was also surprised to see that all the attendees were women.  I checked in at the registration table and then perused the display table where there were writing resource books for sale at low prices, books by the workshop speakers and some of the writers in attendance, and some free information pamphlets and fliers with possible places to publish or some possible devotionals to submit to.  There were also a couple of books on the free part of the table and I grabbed up “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”.

Finally, I approached a table to look for a vacant seat.  I sat down with some very nice, friendly ladies.  After some announcements, we divided into the fiction workshop and the  nonfiction workshop.  Again, I was surprised, as most of the attendees were there for the nonfiction workshop.  I attended the fiction workshop.  There were only five or six of us and Marsha Hubler was our speaker.  The size of the group made things very comfortable and was very conducive to participation.  We had some great discussion and received some wonderful tips from Marsha.

When we first sat down, the lady to my left looked at me and said, “You look very familiar.”  She then asked a couple of questions which led us to the discovery that she had been the children’s pastor at a church we had attended many years ago.  She is now a reading specialist and a writer.  She has two books published already and is working on her third in a series of four.  It was delightful to reconnect with her.  She gave me here business card and I immediately connected to her facebook and twitter accounts and bookmarked her blog.

I also met a sweet lady who was originally from South Carolina and has written quite a bit, but hasn’t had anything published.  She was very interesting and pleasant, and I could kick myself for not asking if she had an email address that we could exchange email addresses to continue to keep in touch and encourage one another.  I don’t remember her last name either, so I can’t even check to see if she has a blog, but I don’t think she does.  I also don’t think she’s on facebook or twitter.  Ugh!

I also met a quiet, young lady who has a great interest in writing, but is also a homeschool mom of three young children.  I can so relate to her, though I didn’t have a lot of time to chat with her.  However, I did find her on twitter, and I found her blog.  Yippee!

Finally, I met an outgoing, wonderfully creative lady who has a fantastic idea for a book she is working on.  I truly hope she continues to press on, because I can’t wait to read her finished book.  She is a bit overwhelmed with the social media thing, which I told her I could understand.  It’s difficult enough to find the time to sit down and work on your actual writing amid the hustle and bustle of real life, but to then also have to have a social media presence is very time consuming.  I gave her some suggestions that I have learned during the past year in hopes of helping and encouraging her.

In case you’re wondering, the tips are:  set a timer for a designated amount of time when you sit down to do social media and when the timer goes off, shut off the social media.  This will help to keep you from having too much time swallowed by social media, which can so easily happen. Another idea, which is what I have decided seems to work best for me, is to simply designate one day a week for social media, and that leaves me five other days to work on my actual writing.  Of course, none of these plans are foolproof nor will they work all of the time because we live real life with its responsibilities, demands and unexpected events.  Also, it is very important to write everyday, as that is how we get better and better at what we do.  I recently read somewhere, and I think it was something Jeff Goins wrote, that you need to write something every day — just take 20 minutes and set a goal of about 200 words, but even if you don’t reach the 200 words, at least write for 20 minutes and just write anything.  If you feel stuck on the story you’re working on, you can just write about your day.  Just write about anything for 20 minutes and before you know it, it will be much easier to write everyday than it will be not to.  (I know I didn’t say that the same way as I read it, but that was the idea).

In closing, I would like to introduce you to one of the ladies I met at Susquehanna Writers’ Conference.  Her name is Kathie Mitchell.  If you have a couple of minutes, hop on over to her blog and read her post from October 8th to find out more about the book she is working on.  You’ll find her at:  http://countrygrandmother.wordpress.com/

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