The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference is underway, and I’m feeling lucky that such an event happens right here in my home town. World class authors come here, to me, making it just so easy (and affordable) to learn from them. I get in my car, drive about fifteen miles, make myself comfortable in the conference room at Land’s End Resort, and people like Michael Cunningham, Dinty Moore, Bill Roorbach, Peggy Shumaker, Sherry Simpson, Nancy Lord and Rich Chiappone (to name just a few) offer workshops, answers to writing questions and expert advice. It’s pretty cool.
Although I’ve been dabbling in writing for several years, I’m a newbie to the writing world. The KBWC is a good way to get a sampling of what it’s all about. Jennifer Pooley, a senior editor from HarperCollins imprint William Morrow is here, as is agent April Eberhardt. It’s been nice to meet both of these very approachable women because they remind me that agents and editors are real people; something I’m guessing that most of you already knew.
Here are a few morsels I’ve gleaned from the offerings so far:
- I use the word “I” way to much in my writing and I think I’m going to have to start looking for alternative ways to talk about myself so as to not bore the poor readers or sound like a narcissist.
- Bill Roorbach says to call writing “work” and not “writing,” because the guilt-ridden side of us won’t let us skip out on work and it’s easy to decline social engagements when you say, “Sorry, I have to work.”
- Dinty Moore’s workshop on miniature nonfiction validated my love for keeping things short and gave me some great ideas for future projects.
- Michael Cunningham says it’s important to stay engaged with a piece of writing by visiting it every day, even if you don’t have much time. He also says to “write smarter than you are.”
- Listening to Peggy Shumaker read from her new book, “Gnawed Bones” reminded me that I love poetry, especially when it’s as accessible and beautiful as hers.
- And Bill Roorbach says that gardening is writing. I love that.