Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Writers Everywhere

I'm about to make a serious attempt at packing for Hong Kong. I have all my class materials ready (I'm teaching a range of classes and PD sessions) and am at the point of making a list so I can stop panicking that I'll forget something. I'm the person who, on the way to the airport, is trying desperately not to imagine I have forgotten something crucial. After all, if you have tickets and passport, most other things can be "managed". Still, I've been working on the list for the past 45 minutes and adding something new and vital on a regular basis.

Regardless of my packing paranoia, I know I will have a great time. Susanna and I meet dozens of wonderfully keen writers every time we visit Hong Kong, either at our YWCA classes or with Women in Publishing. We feel a bit like butterflies, touching down and then flying off again, but this time we will be making serious efforts to network more, and find ongoing connections. Last year, we were there during the Australian elections and were quite astonished at the level of enthusiasm. The Kevin 07 brigade were noisy and cheered loudly!

I'm taking my novel, my lecture notes from Margie Lawson, and my highlighters. I'm expecting some focused rewriting time, if only because I can't bear to watch more than two minutes of Fox News or CNN, usually the only TV channels we can get on our hotel TVs. That's a good thing for a writer! I won't have time on this trip for tourist things, but I will have blocks of hours where I have the opportunity to focus on my own work without interruptions. I just have to be firm with myself and stay off the internet.

It might be a good reminder to think about all the people doing NaNo, for a start. But also I will be taking some time to meet up with writers and talk about writing. I've been fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit in the past few years, and the biggest bonus is the writing friends I've made around the world (Hi, Kristi!). The writing community is special - SCBWI members meet up all around the globe, writers of all kinds are happy to chat over a glass of wine or a coffee and just talk about what they're doing. It is a community, one to value and nurture.

9 comments:

Kristi Holl said...

Hi, back! It sounds like things worked out for you to both go on the trip. I'm glad. And yes, meeting new friends from around the world is about the nicest thing there is about traveling! Enjoy the trip--and look forward to all the work on the house being done when you get back! (I write fiction.)
8-)

Sherryl said...

Are you thinking the house is a figment of my imagination? Only kidding. It's more like part of my nightmares sometimes!

Chuck Martin said...

Sherryl,

Great site... Maybe I can learn something. I'll put this one in favorites.I do a lot of writing and enjoy it, but not great. Enjoy your trip...

Chuck

Sherryl said...

Thanks, Chuck. Now I'm back from HK I will be posting more regularly again.

bparis said...

Hi Sherryl,

I've been writing for awhile. I've filled up a thick journal and I have writings on my computer, on my phone, and the worst is having all these loose pages. Should I just start writing and forget about all the other writings or should I take time to go through everything I've already written. I just don't have a starting place and it's difficult for me to get where I need to be with my book. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you

Sherryl Clark said...

Hi, It sounds as though what you have been writing is either journaling or short pieces. Do you think you are writing a novel - except in bits?
You have a few options. If you think all those pages are a novel but disordered, you maybe need to write something for yourself that plots the whole thing so you can then decide which pages are useful and which can be discarded.
However it does sound like maybe you should put them all aside (treat them as explorations) and start from Page 1. Good luck!

bparis said...

Thank you for responding. I really do appreciate it bc it's the first step of guidance I've received in this daunting process. Would you mind emailing me? I'd definitely like a mentor. I'm 23 years old and I'm in a MPH program preparing for a back up career in the event my writing isn't what I thought it was. I've been in school and I just haven't had the time I'd like to focus on writing. I truly want this to be an accomplishment of mine. I just hate to think those pieces are just lost. I should probably start at page one and keep writing and then maybe browse through those old writings to see if they could fit anywhere in the book. I think it is a novel in pieces.

bparis said...

I've journaled almost everyday while I was in college. But I feel like this book is more about going through changes and watching me change. I'm writing to help other young women who give up hope in their dreams and don't feel that they are destined to be as great as they want to be. I've had a lot of not so great experiences and I think they should be shared with other millennial women.

Sherryl Clark said...

Hi, Thanks for asking about mentoring! I'm afraid I'm not able to take on anyone this year as I am studying full-time (a PhD) and it is a whole lot more work than I ever expected (although good). Have you looked into writing groups or classes in your area? That's how I started - in a class that later turned into a writers' group, and it made a huge difference to me. There are also lots of great writing books that might be helpful. I know you must feel at a bit of a loss as to where and how to start, but you have already, just by writing and amassing all those pages. I'm sorry I can't help you but the things I've suggested are what worked for me in the beginning (and still do!).