Category Archives: Starting up

You Come Here Often?

We Restless Writers are still swooning over the great Twitter chat (Twat? Oh dear…) last week with the writing group from Calgary. One question we kept asking – and getting asked – was how we (the Restless Writers) met. It began like many of today’s great relationships do: online.

I had taken some writing workshops with Brian Henry and he suggested that I find a critiquing group for my work in progress. I had no clue how to organize, find or join such a group so Brian offered to put an ad in his popular e-newsletter.

It was like for writers: “Single, writing female seeks same for mutually beneficial relationship. Groups ok.” I received e-mails from an established writer (whose group had broken up a few years prior) and another writer who, along with her friend, was looking to start a formal group that focused more (or at least equally) on the writing as it did on the wine.

Getting ready for our first meeting was like preparing for a blind date: Will they like me? Will I like them? Do I have the goods to keep them interested? We had a meal together and although things didn’t work out with the other writer, Beckie, Maria and I decided to keep going. Now here we are, over a year later, still as enamoured with each other as ever.

Although the wine flows freely and we drown ourselves in a river of melted Brie, the Restless Writers do eventually focus on the job at hand. I’ve basically re-written the first 100 pages of my WIP and it wouldn’t have happened without this group. And we’re not benefitting solely from the critiques at these meetings: the ladies are always bringing magazines and books for general interest or inspiration (i.e. when I had sexy-times-writer’s-block I was given Exit to Eden…consider me officially unblocked, ladies…).

For me, this group is essential. They hold me accountable, bolster my self-esteem, help me through the rough spots and make me a better writer. In fact, they have all the qualities you could ask for in a spouse writing group.



Filed under Blogging, Group meetings, Inspiration, Starting up, Writing resources

Restless Writin’ Rebel

Last week was a big one for this Restless Writer, with two major happenings: first, I launched my blog (, where I can wax poetic on such lofty topics as middle-aged bra shopping and the perils of giving up sugar; the second, a direct result of the former, was getting my site flagged via Facebook as offensive.

As many writers know, the moment you start putting your work out there (through the web, public readings, or print), it’s fair game for people to judge. The idea of someone evaluating your best efforts can be terrifying, but the exhilaration that results from connecting with a reader can’t be beat.

Finding out that a person had taken the time to report me, because he or she was so offended by what I’d thought was funny writing, was a soul-crushing feeling. Like being kicked in the spiritual nuts.

I wanted to turn off the computer, put down the pen and never write again. All of the positive comments from those discovering my words didn’t matter in the face of such public rejection.

I soon gave myself a reality check – being dissed by a disgruntled relative or friend-of-a-friend wasn’t so bad. It’s not like I’d had a fatwa placed on my writing. Also, if I’m going to be a professional fiction writer, I need to get a thicker – I’m talking rhino thick – skin. Reviews will never be uniformly positive (they may even be uniformly negative) and I must learn to take the bad with the good, or at least ignore it. So really, this whole episode was a wonderful lesson. A gift, even.

But then, as often happens, I got feisty. And a feisty Restless Writer is not to be messed with. I promptly dashed off this comment on the (now defunct) post link:

Apparently someone reported my blog link as offensive. It can be accessed here: loridyan (dot) com. Whoever it is that finds me so offensive, may I suggest that you either don’t click the link or perhaps read the sentence in context (not just the word “clock”, which was mispronounced without the “L” by a 3 yr old). Also, you can suck it.

I’ve promised myself that, should I ever be lucky enough to have my work professionally reviewed, I will never tell any critics, not matter how critical they are, to suck it. But I can still think it.


How do you deal with negative reviews?


Filed under Life and stuff, Motivation, Starting up, Success stories, Trials and Tribulations

Sexy-Times: Trials & Tribulations

I’m revising the final act of my manuscript and I’ve hit a wall. A sex wall, to be exact.

You see, there’s a romantic, um, encounter that occurs and I’ve been struggling with both how far my heroine goes with the fella as well as how descriptive said encounter should be.  Apparently, despite my initial bravado, I am an emotional twelve-year-old when it comes to writing sex scenes (complete with blushing, discomfort and mild nausea).

Now, I like a good sex scene as much as the next middle-aged suburban soccer mom, but when I have to choreograph it…well, let’s just say it feels like my grandma is reading over my shoulder (or is – shudder – in the room with my heroine and her dude).

Last month, I unveiled my progress to my fellow restless writers and the reaction was unanimous: MORE SEX PLEASE!

And I tried, I really did: I googled “how to write a good sex scene”; I drank a lot of red wine; I even had some fairly steamy stuff on paper. But it just wasn’t working for me and I started feeling like a big, frigid prude (Judy Blume was cranking out fantastic raunch in her sixties!).

Then I read an interview with Jennifer Weiner, one of my favourite authors, and she stated that, as long as her mother was alive, she wouldn’t be writing any  sex scenes either.

My fellow writers will be disappointed, but until further notice, Ms. Weiner and I will be tunneling under the sex wall, much to the relief of our mothers/grandmas.



Filed under Starting up, Trials and Tribulations

Restless writers unite!

Welcome to the Restless Writers’ blog.

As the person who thought it would be cool for our writing group to use a blog, I am tasked with coming up with our first blog post.

This blog will be authored by the members of a new writing group. I’ll let them introduce themselves later. I’ll introduce myself later too. (Let me just get this first post out of the way, and I’ll turn into a blogging machine.)

For now, let me just say that we are a fledgling group of writers with various writing interests and experience. Some of us have completed manuscripts and are looking for agents. Some of us have just bought a new pen.

We need motivation. We want to read our work aloud in a safe place to hear what each other thinks. We are interested in sharing our daily challenges and triumphs. We think we would enjoy a glass of wine while we do it.

Some of the posts in this blog will be password-protected—if I can figure out the technology—so please don’t be offended if you can’t read everything we post here. Some of our work may not be ready for the world.

But we will share most of the story of our collective writing adventure with anyone who wants to hear it.

I hope other new writers visit us every now and then, and share their thoughts on starting a writing life.

Maria McDonald

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Filed under Starting up