Speaking engagements have dominated the fall and winter. Although the venues, the audiences have been vastly different, I have enjoyed sharing my passion for writing.
For Bridgeway Senior Care, I directed a journal workshop. Although many in the audience had difficulty writing words on the page for varied reasons, each had plenty of stories to tell. I prompted the group with well- prepared questions about their memories and favorite ideas. I presented each with a notebook as well. We discussed saving their memories and observations for the generations to come. We jotted down questions and lead in lines they could use with sons, daughters or grandchildren. Many knew family members who would record their thoughts. Good, fun time. It also proves that story ideas are everywhere; sometimes, all it takes is a question, a prompt to get them flowing.
I also spoke with Writing Rage, a group is composed of writers of all genres. All they share is a love of writing. They meet regularly to read their material, encourage each other and discuss problems in writing. Some write stories, a few novels, many write poetry and some articles. Most are not interested in publication, they write for the sheer joy of writing.
I met one of the club members in a bookstore and was invited to discuss how/where I get writing ideas. We started with questions and answer period then I pulled out my bag of “what if” bag of magical tricks.
“What if- the most powerful two words for a writer.” is the most popular speaking topic in my list for speaking engagements. (see previous blogs for ‘what if’ writing topics) I brought my magic bag of ‘what if’ items. In the bag are assorted household items, a stack of index cards, and assorted costume items . All create magical ideas to jumpstart writing.
The items and discussion also produces laughter, relaxes participants and induces a multitude of writing ideas. What story could you start with an egg beater, a red scarf and a man with a limp? A romance? A mystery? A paranormal?
I also participated in the FAF in Woodbury NJ. As a guest author, I read a section of If You Dare on one stage and a section of Stranger To Love on a different stage. Great venue. Woodbury closed down blocks of the city. Vendors, artists, craftsman booths lined five blocks in one direction and seven in another. Strategically, located throughout along the streets were stages or street spots where bands, actors or authors performed.
Some stopped to listen, some paused in seats, some waited after to talk about writing. It was a unique experience; authors performed and drew an audience just as the traveling dramatists or the bands. Chatting with other writers as well as audience members was easy and fun.
Talking about one’s craft, sharing ideas is exhilarating and empowering. As an author, you want to go home and pick up a pen or an IPad.
Next blog: Talking with a book club about your own book—for me an unnerving experience.