I quit writing this summer.
Each time I opened a document, new or old, my inner critic won. Sometimes I closed documents without saving them.
I avoided my notebooks, partial manuscripts, and poems.
Something inside me whispered that my unpublished words were worthless. That no matter how much time I spent arranging them on the page, they would always be worthless.
But then I went to the 2016 Hampton Roads Writers’ Conference.
Where I remembered why I started writing in the first place.
I remembered how stories haunt my dreams and daydreams. How the convection of my imagination brings characters and scenes to the surface over and over again, how writing these characters and scenes frees my imagination to create more characters and scenes.
I remembered the shiver of recognition when lines and phrases turn to music in a poem. It doesn’t happen in every poem I write, or even in every tenth poem, but when it does happen it’s magic.
I remembered how satisfying a difficult revision can be, both during and after the process. Like solving a puzzle or riddle. Pieces falling into place, sometimes falling into unexpected places. Creating order out of the chaos of previous drafts.
This insight was alchemy, the combined effect of a series of excellent presentations and workshops.
I can’t praise these presenters highly enough:
- Charlotte Matthews – White Space: Your Poem’s Red Bull™
- Mary Burton – Writing Your Novel One Draft at a Time
- John Robert Mack – Eliminating the Excuses
- Robert J. Crane – Writing Literary Crack: How to Keep Your Readers Coming Back Over a Long Series
- Charlotte Matthews – Brain Dead: Writing in the Total Absence of Inspiration
- Lt. Michael Lovely – Creating a Believable Crime or Murder Scenario
- Lt. Michael Lovely – Body Talk: Lying, Loving, and the Real Language of the Body
- Lt. Michael Lovely – Police Procedures and Investigations: Insights into a Cop’s World
I’m grateful to Hampton Roads Writers for putting together such a wonderful conference.
If you write, no matter what you write or why you write, check out one of the writing conferences near you.
Especially if you’ve quit writing.