Some things I learned (or affirmed) about myself as a writer during this conference, in no particular order:
- I'm a storyteller, and my stories are driven by character and a what-if.
- Screenwriting and novel-writing suit me well. Short story-writing does not.
- My bachelor's degree in psychology was money well spent.
- I have a hard time grasping the concept of "literary".
- I'm very proud and appreciative of my rhetorical training and perspective.
- My insecurities about (not) being "well read" have resurfaced. (Then again, I grasp the concept of "well read" about as easily as I grasp the concept of "literary".)
- A classroom is a special space. So is a Long Island beach.
- Ice cream cures writers block. (Rather, it makes you not give a damn about it.)
- Man, and I can get paid for this!
- Revision is still my favorite part of the process. So is the thinking part. And, when the time is right (and it needs to be just right), so is the talking-it-out part.
- I have to serve myself as a reader before I can serve any other reader(s).
- I'm on the right track.
Maybe some of these resonate with you. I don't think you need a conference or a class or a workshop or even an MFA to discover these things. But it's quite validating when you do so in the company of other writers and writing teachers. At least it was for me.
As I take this week to work on my syllabus for the fall semester, I will be thinking about this blog as a classroom space and get back to the teaching of writing here, too, starting with character. I can't wait to share what I learned about protagonists and antagonists!
Happy writing, folks. And take my word for it on the ice cream.