Then it was Friday. Summertime weeks speed by; this one seemed to go doubly fast. Just when we got started, there we were, wrapping up.
I’d barely been able to finish my homework for Friday because of the author event at Mystery to Me on Thursday night. That turned out well. (Except for the drive into Madison, at the tail end of rush hour, causing me to arrive just in time.) The cozy crowd included my husband, a long-time academic friend who was also attending Write by the Lake, and a new friend from the workshop. And there were a few others, too, and some of them stayed around to chat a bit after the q&a with journalist Doug Moe. Doug asked great questions that allowed me to talk about Angels of the Underground, which I love to do. It all lasted for about an hour and a half, and Joanne kept the cash register open long enough for me to buy the new novel by fellow Wisconsin writer, Ann Garvin.
So I didn’t get to my workshop homework until Friday morning. But I got it done. During the session, we read through some of those completed assignments and worked on another writing exercise. To wrap things up, the instructor talked a bit about the querying process involved in finding an agent.
Overall, this was a good experience. There is great value in connecting with other writers (our workshop was a great group) and on developing writing skills. I wish there had been more of that latter thing, especially as applied to our individual projects. The six of us in the workshop all have book projects started. We need to keep going.
Throughout the week I kept thinking about how I would have structured a writing workshop. At the top of my list: have the attendees do a lot of writing, critiquing, and revising. Our homework assignments and in-class exercises were quality assignments for honing our skills of observation and description. We should have then applied what we learned to our manuscripts-in-progress, with the goal of writing 5-10 pages per night. Copies of those new pages could have circulated within the group for critiques and rewrites. That would’ve been a wonderfully productive workshop.
Now, the rest of the summer looms.