Liz Writes… with a community

Some wins in the writing world of late.

I attended a “Writing Boot Camp” this weekend run by one of my poet friends from graduate school, Kelly Grace Thomas.

Kelly runs The Writer’s Collective, which is a group she has crafted into a writing network for creatives in the Cincinnati/NKY area. From their Meetup page: “The Writer’s Collective is a membership-based network of writers who crave more community, inspiration and accountability.” She offers coaching and organizes networking events – which are invaluable to writers who may not know where to start in crafting their own groups.

This weekend, the free “boot camp” took place at a shared workspace called Platform 53 in Covington, Kentucky. I mentioned it earlier in the week to my friend Michelle, who also wanted to check it out!

And so, Michelle and I made the trek to Covington to see what was what. The morning started with coffee and small talk with other local writers – an inspiring bunch. It seemed like they had joined one or more of these boot camps before, forming a community around Kelly and her initiative. We gathered in the attic, and local poet Sara Moore Wagner read a few pieces from her latest published chapbook, then we spread out in the Platform 53 space for designated writing time – some of us cozied up with our writing in the attic room, some camped out near the coffee and cookies, and some (like Michelle and me) found a home on the second floor in one of the quiet rooms. After the writing time, we reconvened to share our work and give feedback in a decidedly comfortable setting – there was no pressure, no stress. Just a handful of likeminded people gathering to share their love of words.

I feel good about what I was able to accomplish – finally finished the chapter I’ve been working on since November, and put a sizable dent in the next. The most important takeaway, though, was one of perspective. The “boot camp” was mostly helpful in putting me in a situation where I had to write – carved out that time for me.

And, as these things go, after such a productive morning, the words didn’t want to stop.

So then I sat in a coffee shop in Hyde Park Square for two hours and, in between bursts of words, stared out the window at the rain, marveling that this is, indeed, my life. That somehow I lucked into a group of friends that cares about me and my work. That somehow I get to do what I love for a living. That somehow the world is still spinning after the garbage fire of last year.

 

I am going to finish this novel. It’ll be good or bad, and then I’ll revise it, and those revisions will be good or bad. In the end, it doesn’t matter – because simply finishing it is the true goal. This story has been sitting inside me since I was sixteen. I need to get it into the world before I move on. If it goes somewhere, great. If not – it’s been nice to revisit these folks I spent so much time with more than a decade ago.

One of my favorite quotes from my favorite Doctor:

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things or make them unimportant.

— Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, episode 5.10, “Vincent and the Doctor”

I’m adding to my pile of good things. And working on this book counts. Working on myself counts. Joining a community of like-minded creatives that seek to build each other up – that counts.

It adds up, you know?

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