writers

Behind the laptop

Sometimes you walk into a coffee shop and there are so many laptops it looks like a computer store. Have you ever wondered what all these people are working on? I always think, “Maybe my new favorite book is being written in this room right now!”

For the last few weeks, I’ve been going up to strangers in coffee shops and asking them what they are working on. It was pretty intimidating at first. I didn’t want to interrupt their work, I’m not used to starting conversations with strangers, and strangers don’t look very inviting when they’re staring at their computers. But it was a great experience. I learned that people really like talking about their work and that they are aching for a connection with other creative people.

Meet Tricia Alexandro

Below are her answers to the three questions I’ve been asking writers in coffee shops.

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Tricia Alexandra writing at The Queens Kickshaw.

Me: What are you working on?

Tricia: “A short film about a couple taking a trip to Paris. It’s one of those trips you take thinking it’s going to solidify your relationship but instead it reveals all the cracks.”

M: What’s your next stage and what do you need to get there?

T: “I want to be paid for my work. I want more exposure and a writing community. I find that kind of support is imperative for getting to the next level because those kinds of people inspire you and also hold you accountable. When you see the consistency of other people, and the fact that they’re making a go at it on a daily basis, that encourages me. And you also share resources when you have a community.”

M: What does a writer need?

T: “I think self-compassion is probably the best thing to have as a writer because most of your first drafts and even fifth drafts are going to be shitty. Also curiosity about what’s going on around you. Be gentle on yourself and persevere.”

This conversation was such a great affirmation of what I’m doing with my organization, Writers Work. I’m proud to be creating a supportive community to help writers develop their craft, career, and community. I’m hosting my FIFTH conference on Saturday, April 9 and it’s going to be a great place to find a community as well as get inspired and informed. I hope you can come and spread the word.

*** As a side note, I’m still working on the film. We’re in the audition process for cinematographers and actors. I will be writing about it soon, but in the meantime you can get more updates by liking the Lily and Mara facebook page.***

Growing some Wings

wings

This is one of my favorite quotes, and it’s a belief that motivates me whenever thinking of what to do next. It’s a quote I had to repeat as I wrote the check to reserve the venue for my first-ever writers’ retreat. (Actually I’ve set up two impromptu retreats with my writers’ groups and I know that the concentrated time and companionship can make the difference between thinking about a novel and finishing a novel. However, these retreats were at my parents house so there was no financial risk for me. This retreat is on a larger scale, with more money and time at stake.)

It would have been easy to say no to the idea of this retreat. Financially speaking, I should say no to this retreat. But at the end of the day I know I can do an amazing job organizing it, and I know that it will be worth it. There are only seven openings and I need at least five people to sign up in order to break even. I jumped off a cliff and now I’m waiting for those wings to pop out! If you know someone who would benefit from this retreat, please share the info! Here are some of the details, but visit the website for the daily schedule and more details.

  • 3pm Friday, Feb. 20 through 3pm Monday, Feb. 24
  • We will all be staying in a quiet house in the Catskills and our meals will be brought to us. All you need are your usual writing implements, clothing, and a toothbrush.
  • All activities are optional. They are designed to inspire creativity and enhance the craft, but your time and schedule is priority.
  • Mornings start with yoga or mediation and the evenings end with a group critique of the day’s writing.
  • On the last day, Chloe Caldwell, author of Woman, Legs Get Led Astray and The New Age Camp, will be joining us to talk about her experience as a writer, and offer feedback on our writing.
  • Prices range from $540-$800 depending on the room situation you pick, and if you send a deposit by 12/15 for the early bird special. Price includes housing, meals (except for one meal at a restaurant), activities and supplies.

I hope you will join me for this retreat and I hope there will be many more in the future.