Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Write2TheEnd: Epiphanies, Priorities, and What's Next?

We wrapped our fall session of #Write2TheEnd last night with an epic THREE HOUR dinner at Ryebelle's with our new and forever *Writer* (with a capital W!) friends.

We were one participant down because SHE WAS GIVING BIRTH to our first #W2TE baby!! Even so, I can't believe none of us remembered to get a picture of our gathering! *head desk* Or of our participants with their certificates!! Ugh!

Ah well. I guess we were too happy that Ken was able to join us in Real Life this time.  For most of our meetings he participated via Skype from his travels in South Korea and China for his son's wedding! We are so proud of and impressed by his devotion to his project (which he completed), and by the support he received from his wife and family when he asked for it.

This is a lesson for us all in any creative endeavor. Our loved ones want to help and offer their support. Sometimes (always) we just need to verbalize what it is we need in order to receive it so we can meet success.

Same sun: going down in Michigan; rising in South Korea.
What Ken did right, and what we can all do in our daily lives, is he made his writing *work* a priority, even on the other side of the world.

He had a moment of pure joy and self-acceptance when "Writer" popped out of his mouth in response to customs asking for his profession -- which delighted us almost as much as seeing the sunrise from South Korea mirroring the sunset in southwest Michigan. Surreal.

Another epiphany we discussed: it's important to choose a project to focus on that speaks to the soul of the writer. If you are successful in getting a piece published, if you enjoy fame and notoriety from your work, you will speak about, think about, live, eat, and breathe your story for years to come.

Think of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (or Cheeseburger in Paradise, Heaven-forbid), of Lynard Skynard's Free Bird. Artists perform their biggest hits at every gig to the end of their careers -- they damn well better love them! It's so much easier to do the work -- to succeed -- when you're doing it for yourself, when it feeds your soul, versus because you *should.*

As to what's next for #Write2TheEnd? We began with a goal of building a community of working writers. Thus far, we have worked only with local writers. We LOVE working face-to-face with each and every one of our participants. We want to keep our class size small so we can truly make a difference, so we can offer each paying participant a one-on-one, so that we can continue to over deliver and adjust our instruction so it best meets the needs of those who show up to learn during each season's session.

Sadly, we won't be offering an 8-week winter session. We are committed, however, to keeping our growing community supported and active and, most importantly, WRITING, throughout the holidays and winter months. If you are hungry for a driven, supportive, knowledgable writing community to help you move forward in your writing career, we hear you. If you are not local to Southwest Michigan, we hear you, too. We will offer a very limited number of remote opportunities to participants in #Write2TheEnd Mini-Courses. Stay tuned for more information.

Something we didn't expect when we began working with local writers in September was how fond we would become of these Writers who invested in themselves -- and in us -- because they believed they had a story to tell. We didn't anticipate holding back tears when it was time to say good-bye. We didn't anticipate looking at each other like proud parents when one of our participants delivered her completed chapbook to us as a thank you, or how the hairs on our arms would stand at attention when we could identify her use of some of the tools we taught, how her writing moved us and stayed with us on our drive (or walk) home, as we breathed in the aromatic fumes of a homemade soup, or kissed our children goodnight, making us savor moments and glimpses and hold these tight against our hearts.

However could we have known what teaching you has taught us? What it has gifted us? We can't wait for our next 8-week session in the spring, and we can't wait for the next time we are lucky enough to #Write2TheEnd with you.

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