Write by the Lake: Day 1

It was beautiful in Madison, Wisconsin, today. I drove in from the west this morning, leaving home extra early because I wasn’t sure how heavy rush hour traffic would be, especially through construction zones. It wasn’t bad (I learned how to drive in suburban Chicago), and I arrived about a half hour before conference registration.

I walked to Memorial Union, along the Terrace, which spans a portion of Lake Mendota.

It wasn’t crowded at all this morning. A groundskeeper was busy blowing away some trash, and a couple of women occupied different tables, swiping away on their electronic devices. Construction workers were the most conspicuous, applying themselves to a variety of projects that will make this portion of the lake shore even more inviting. Someday. Right now the construction is loud and annoying. But if you face away from it and look out on the lake, you can almost ignore it.

I wasn’t there for the scenery, though. After a good bit of a walk, I headed over to the campus building that was hosting this year’s Write by the Lake conference. For five days, very committed writers work in small groups, divided up by genre, to make their writing better.

Good writers know this is a never-ending process. There is always room for improvement, no matter how much or how little you have written.

In the non-fiction class I signed up for, today was mostly a getting-to-know-you day. There was also a very practical exercise about identifying themes, which are important in non-fiction works. One group member had her 2000-word submission critiqued. It was a friendly and helpful critique. I think it put everyone at ease about what will go on for the rest of the week. I don’t know when my submission will come up for critique.

I signed up for this conference because I want to get a solid start on my next book. I think it will help to have some feedback, even at this very early stage.

And now, I have a little bit of homework to do for tomorrow.


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