My husband (yes, he writes, too) and I just spent the weekend at a writers’ conference at the Georgia Writers Museum in Eatonton, GA. (https://www.georgiawritersmuseum.org/2023-writers-retreat/#top) There were 50-60 of us there, all kinds of writers, in all stages of their writing career. I met people with several published books under their belt, brand new wanna-be writers, and everything in between. Breakout sessions included topics such as proposal writing, editing, the first page, world building for fantasy, children’s books, believable dialogue, book launches, and more.
The open critiquing session was an eye-opener for me. Over a period of 2 hours, people had the opportunity to read 2 pages of their writing and get feedback from the group. I learned a great attitude from George Weinstein, past president of Atlanta Writer’s Group, who moderated. He asked, “What was good?” followed by, “Now, how can it be even better?”. What really blew me away was the realization that we are all using the same words from the same language, yet writing styles varied wildly. What and how we write really is limitless!
There were two inspiring lunches. Carolyn and Bill Curry spoke together about their life in writing. Calling themselves “accidental authors” they reminisced about their lives and how they fell into writing. Bill had a storied career in as a football player at Georgia Tech, followed by 10 seasons in the NFL (Packers, Colts, Oilers, Rams), capped off by coaching at Georgia Tech, Alabama, Kentucky, and Georgia State. He’s the author of Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle. He was the straight man to Carolyn’s bubbly talk about her life with him in football, her career in English, her nonprofit Alone Together, and her book Suffer and Grow Strong, the fascinating true story of a Southern lady who lived through the Civil War. This was an outgrowth of her PhD thesis on Ella G.C. Thomas. She was awarded Georgia Author of the Year and has followed up this great book with a murder mystery set in the world of football, Sudden Death. Clearly both still deeply in love with each other, they were a delight to listen to.
The inimitable Alice Walker (The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, etc.) joined us via Zoom from her home in California. Ethereal yet personable, she was riveting. She writes because it is in her and must come out, she said. Her basis for ideas is the state of wonder we should all be in about the miraculous world around us. She doesn’t believe in writer’s block. If you can’t write, she told us, it is because your idea needs to gestate longer, and patience is required. All her writing is exploration of her inner self, she explained. What an honor to get to listen to her!
Being surrounded by other writers was uplifting. I feel fully recharged and ready to WRITE!