Writing Life

I’ve been a writer all of my life.  I had a short story published in the church newsletter when I was seven-years-old. And the Church Bells Rang was an allegory about the power of successful marketing. Ok…fine…I didn’t even know what allegory meant. It was the story of a small church preparing to shut its doors because the church bell was stuck and couldn’t ring and therefore couldn’t tell everybody it was time for church. After a prayer and one last tug on the rope, the bell rang! And people came to the church from miles around, and the church stayed open. I wasn’t too impressed with my story. I thought it needed illustrations, so I quickly drew stick people running to a tall triangular church. When that issue of the newsletter came out, I got kudos and quarters from all the adults, but the kids just laughed at my drawing.
I did keep writing after that early success, but I kept things to myself, only occasionally sharing poems with my mother. I didn’t consider myself a writer…not through writing plays in 4th grade, stories in 6th grade…or not through 8th grade when my school published my poem in the graduation program…not even through high school when I wrote porn for the masses.
I honestly didn’t feel like a writer until I attended a writer’s conference at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. For nearly four days, I was surrounded by people who did what I did and didn’t think themselves writers either. When the conference was over, I knew what I was. I knew what I was, what I wanted, and how to get it. I had the confidence to take the first step and let my writing loose on an unsuspecting world (I gave up illustrating, though).
UW—Madison has an incredible creative writing program and hosts three events a year: the spring Writer’s Institute is the largest, with 4 days of workshops and critiques, pitch sessions with agents and networking with people who share your passion.
Write by the Lake is the summer writer’s retreat. It’s a week of sharply focussed instruction designed to help writers get started, polish manuscripts, and begin the search for publication.
Coming up this fall is Weekend With Your Novel, a short retreat focussing on novels and novelists. From Friday to Sunday, attend workshops and lectures, meet published authors, and learn How to Be Professional Before You’re Even Published. I’ll be there with the novel that is currently trying my patience and vexing my spirit.
Come on! Check ’em out. You’ll be glad you did.
UW—Madison Continuing Studies
Writer’s Institute
Write By the Lake
Weekend With Your Novel

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