Is There Ever an End to Writing Workshop Preparation?

I feel like I’ve read it all: how to behave at writing conferences, how to prepare the perfect sale’s pitch, what to say, what not to say.

Got my business cards with blog address on back. Getting my blog updated as I write. Have read the manuscripts of my writing intensive colleagues, submitted my twenty-page manuscript excerpt for review by a professional. Have the cash, checkbook, credit card to purchase books by visiting authors for signatures.

Am I ready?

I’d love to say yes, but the blotches on my face tell a different story. It’s like pimples popping out on a teenager’s face the morning of school photo day.


I am off to the Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on Saturday, July 9. I have bought into the whole program: Saturday seminar all day, full morning sessions all week, afternoon fiction intensive all week, two professional critique sessions about my manuscript excerpt, open-to-the public writer forums and readings every evening. I hope to sign up to pitch my novel (said manuscript) Mermaid with an agent. All that and making connections and picking up tips from other attendees and facilitators.

Conferences were easier when I was a beginning writer with nary a story to my name, just aspirations. Now I am in the group that has that “lean and hungry look,” not to assassinate Caesar but to bring attention to my work. It’s great because I passed that critical dateline from wannabe-writer-but-I haven’t-written anything to a writer-with -a- completed-novel-looking-for-an-agent-and-a-contract.  It’s scary because now there is evidence for someone to tell me how good, mediocre or poor I am.

Nevertheless, I am ready.

Wait. Not yet.

I need another container of make up to cover up these red blotches.

2 thoughts on “Is There Ever an End to Writing Workshop Preparation?

    • Yes. Intensity is a good description for this workshop because of its week-long length and every day is full, full, full. The afternoon seminar puts you at the elbow of writers who’ve critiqued your work and are willing to share their own. Signing up to spend lunch with an staff author is expensive in Yellow Springs but the one-on-one casual talk can be invaluable. Daily morning sessions in all the genres give insight into the connections between writing art forms. And that’s all for me. To include the friends, fellow attendees and hired facilitators who have become my friends on Facebook, email, and even the three writers who had to meet at Young’s Jersey Dairy twice this past year, even though the drive was nearly two hours for one and an hour and a half for another, just to talk about our writing–well, that was a bonus.
      If you take a seminar and don’t read your fellow members’ work before you come, your week will be mad-cap. If it’s done, the week will still be mad-cap, but you’ll find more pockets of air to just breathe.
      I am taking the afternoon seminar with Ms. Gerber. I’ll look for you somewhere.
      Good writing to you. I am at this moment, finalizing my piece for the seminar.


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