Today I met Lori, a former coworker and still friend, for lunch. We worked together for many years, me as a financial editor and she as tech support at a big-deal investment bank. Lori helped me out of many a PC jam, week in and week out. Time spent together created a friendship. We both left the big-deal investment bank many years ago, but we keep in touch. We are both writers, in addition to what else we are!
The last time Lori and I met for lunch she told me about The Write Group, an organization created by and for writers that meets in Northern New Jersey. She told me about the Saturday morning free write meet-ups and the weekly email newsletter. After that lunch I went home and signed up to receive the newsletter.
Today I thanked Lori for broadening my writing horizons. If Lori hadn’t told me about The Write Group I would not have had the opportunity to attend some of its Thursday night meetings like Social Media, Memoir Your Way to Freedom, and Legal Issues for Writers, to name three. I would not have learned about MEWS, an organization that was founded to bring together writers and editors in a Northern N.J. town. And then I wouldn’t have taken Pam Satran’s one-day novel writing class; I learned more in that one-day class than I have at any other writer’s gathering, ever.
And if I hadn’t attended these events and workshops I probably wouldn’t have signed up for the five-week free-write class I have been taking on Monday nights; it’s a challenge for someone like me, an editor, to sit and just write for 20 minutes without sneaking back and editing what I’ve just written. And it’s difficult for me to read what I’ve written out loud to my classmates. But I’m learning. I’m learning to let go of my old edit-as-I-go habit and I am conquering the fear that hits me every time I hear myself volunteering to read what I’ve just written in class.
I figure that if I can just write, as Pam Satran, the many writers I’ve met over the past year and my Monday night instructor and classmates say I should, then I will create something truly special.
First, write it down. Put all that wonderful stuff in your head onto paper or computer. All of it. Or as much as you have time to do in the time you have.
Second, edit it. But edit it at another time, a time far removed from the initial creative process. Assign a day or time to “just edit.”
Now excuse me while I go practice what I just preached.