Dearest Writers, Readers and Friends:
It is lovely to return to my blog after an unplanned summer hiatus. Thank you for sticking around! I hope these intervening weeks have been full of discovery, creativity and fun for you and yours!
I am so pleased today to share with you a new writing resource in Sacramento: the Meetup.com group Shut Up & Write! Sacramento. You will find it at www.meetup.com/shutupandwritesacto/.
This group hosts free writing meetings (yeah, you read that right–FREE–except for the coffee you buy to help support the venue where the Meetup is happening) in which the focus is drafting new work. No sharing, no manuscripts to bring in or review in advance. No critique. No prompt, even. You bring with you your materials and whatever it is you wish to write about for one solid, quiet hour. What do you get? The accountability and energy-sharing that comes from writing with others…others who will see if you get up to answer your phone or if you are fiddling with your iPod instead of doing the work you long to do–write! Others who, even if you do get distracted, won’t say a word about it and won’t judge you, and whose own focused presence will help you to focus and get it done.
I attended my first meeting of this group this past Wednesday evening at Old Soul at Forty Acres in Sacramento. About a dozen of us made it. I arrived at 5:50 pm and half of the folks were seated at a picnic-style table in the cafe, snacking, chatting and getting their laptops and journals situated. Things I noticed right away: the relaxed, open vibe; a really even mix of diverse guys and gals of all ages; and best of all? I had met before only ONE person there (besides the event host, Janna Maron of ThinkHouse Collective)–which makes me so happy! I love meeting new writers and seeing our literary community grow.
At 6:10, we briefly introduced ourselves by giving our names and saying something about our current project/what we planned to write during our “shut up and write” time that evening. People in the group were writing short stories, novels, fiction for young adults, screenplays, and essays. I know from following the group in Meetup’s online home (which currently numbers around 160 writers total) that there are folks in the group writing dissertations, stage plays, poetry…whatever! If it’s made of words, if you can “shut up and write” it, you’re in.
Next, Janna set the timer for 60 minutes and–bam!–we all got quiet and got to it.
I spent the first half hour finalizing lesson preparation for my upcoming workshop, Crafting Character (Part II). The second half hour I spent progressing a story draft I started last Monday when I was overnighting in Berkeley for my day job. At the Meetup, I wrote five pages in my journal (which, for this long-time poet, is still a lot of words!).
Before I knew it, the timer went off. Our sixty minutes of writing time was already done! Some folks continued writing. Some slipped quietly out into their next phase for the evening. About half stayed to chat and we shared knowledge about writing software, editing services, reading series and other useful community information. I left the meeting having had personal conversations with five new people–conversation deep enough that I will not forget their names.
I highly recommend checking out a Shut Up & Write! Sacramento meetup soon. The group is also offering special events, like Saturday writing mini-marathons and–on September 21–a first special event workshop opportunity. I am honored to have been asked to lead this first workshop, and spots are going fast! I provide the details below.
Though my calendar makes it challenging, I hope to attend another Meetup soon. I hope I’ll see you there, quietly “writing your art out” as you make new friends!
Yours, as ever, in writing,
Shut Up and Write! Sacramento presents
a Saturday Writing Workshop led by Kate Asche
September 21, 2013 ~ 9:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ~ sponsored by ThinkHouse Collective
The Rough Red Door Beside the Spruces: Juxtaposition and the Senses
Evocative description is an essential component of memorable writing in any genre. If you write fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir and/or poetry (or in any other mode!), join this generative workshop to spend a morning thinking about and practicing description using juxtaposition and the five senses. Kate Asche will lead focused discussion and will then facilitate a writing and sharing session in the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) method. We’ll read a short selection on craft before we meet (from Mark Doty’s The Art of Description), as well as a brief overview of the AWA method (readings will be posted in advance to registered participants via the Files section on our home page).
On the day of, arrive at 9:45 am to get settled. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 am with self-introductions, followed by discussion of the pre-reading to tease out craft take-aways. Then, we’ll “shut up and write” to a prompt that will invite you to play with description. Lastly, if you wish, you may share your just-written draft with the group and receive brief supportive feedback in the AWA way.
Workshop Leader: Since 2005, Kate Asche, M.A., has taught creative writing workshops across genres in a variety of community and academic settings. She publishes poetry and creative nonfiction and also writes short stories. Learn more about her at www.kateasche.com.
Cost: $20. Fee includes snacks and tea; proceeds will be distributed to AWA Sacramento, TrueStory, Sacramento Poetry Center and Stories on Stage Sacramento. Please make your check out to Kate Asche. Payments can be given to Cinamon and Janna to secure your spot.
How to Register: Registration limited to 20 participants. Advance registration with payment required. Registrations accepted through the Shut Up and Write! Sacramento Meetup Group (online) only. Not yet a member? It’s easy to join! Just click on the “Join this Group” button at the top of the page at the group’s website here. Both registration through the Meetup Group and payment are required to hold your space. Spaces are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
Regarding Meetup RSVPs: Your spot is not secured until payment is received.
All registrations and payments are final and non-refundable, and your submission of payment indicates you have read and understand this policy.
For complete details and to ask any questions, head to the website and join the group!