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Friday, December 23, 2011

New Year, New Writing You

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season, whether you have celebrated your holiday already or your holiday celebration is still to come. I hope in the midst of all the holiday craziness and excitement, you are taking the time to observe the people and the world around you and mining gems from this season that will enhance your writing.

Welcome a visit from the ghost of your writing past, the ghost of your writing present, and the ghost of your writing future. What would each of these ghosts show you? Where are you in your writing journey? Where do you want to be? If you are serious about writing, why not make 2012 your year?

I hope as you are preparing your writing goals for the new year, you include some achievable and challenging projects. Maybe you need to master grammar and style. Maybe you need to look for markets to submit that series of short stories to. Maybe you need to sign up for that writing program you’ve been putting off. Maybe you need to finish that novel you’ve been working on. Maybe you need to write that screenplay that’s been burning a hole in your brain. Maybe you need to find a writing partner to share the workload and keep you accountable. Maybe you need to sell something—an article, a short story, a devotional, a novel, a screenplay, a poem . . .

As for LWC, we’ve had a great 2011. We’ve focused a lot on inspiration, education, and motivation this year:

  • Bestselling author Lisa Patton spoke to us last spring (during the very successful community event LWC hosted at the library) about having hope in the world of writing. Her sweet spirit and encouragement ignited something inside me, and I’ve been in a writing frenzy ever since—completing not only a screenplay with my writing partner, but also completing my first novel (and with three prior novels only half-written, I didn’t have a very good track record).
  • The LWC committee proactively addressed the need for an education focus and named Cece Dockins our education coordinator.
  • Education surveys were distributed to all members, and most of our education planning in 2011 was structured around your responses.
  • Our 5th Thursday Night of Learning sessions have included: How to give and receive critique. An introduction to screenplay writing and how to write with a partner. Generating ideas. How to self edit. Writing a book proposal. Formatting and submitting. And point of view—beginning to advanced.
  • The 2nd annual Fall Feast was a huge success! See the header of our blog to view a collage of 2011 Fall Feast pics.
  • Author Leonardo Ramirez spoke to us about creating strong and amazing characters, traditional and self publishing, and juggling the writing life with family time and a full-time job.
  • LWC began a project to give back to our community and to thank our host for the free use of our meeting space with our garden project at Rippavilla. Team Weed and Team Mulch have completed their parts in this project. Team Plant will follow through into the spring of 2012.
  • LWC members gave generously (we raised $147) to a much-needed table fund to support our growing group.
  • Critique buddies were created to provide a richer and more focused critique option (outside of our general critique sessions) for LWC writers. Critique buddies has been very successful with at least three groups currently active.
  • Pre-critique was added to our general monthly critique session to provide writers with a more thorough critique option.
  • Creative writing nights have focused on: Resisting the urge to edit as you write your first draft. Themes in horror. Humor in poetry. Descriptive writing. Point of view. Themes gone bad. Vocabulary building. Writing your autobiography. And choosing powerful nouns and active verbs.
  • We’ve added dozens of new contacts and at least ten new attending members (much of this due to the Lisa Patton event last spring).
  • We started an LWC Facebook page where LWC members can communicate. It has been very active and currently has 30 members. If you aren’t on it and want to be, let me know.
  • LWC members contributed to a fun top-five series on our LWC blog.
Can you believe how much fun we’ve had and how much we’ve learned this year?

If you missed out in 2011, no worries. We have lots of great things in store for 2012, so as you are making your 2012 writing goals, be sure to include attending LWC meetings (and joining the LWC facebook group) as one of your goals. Education will continue to be a driving force for LWC. We will also spend some time focusing on marketing and submitting and will work to bring in more authors who can speak to us from their own experiences. Through our growth, we will continue to make sure LWC has that welcoming small-group feel so new visitors will feel at home.

And we will continue to focus on our mission above all else: we exist to support and encourage each other as we journey on the road to publication.

At our January 5 critique session, we will celebrate five years of LWC (and I’ll be bringing a super cool treat), so it’s a great time to start. I’ll see you all in 2012.

Wishing you lots of writing success in the new year,

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