Category Archives: Success stories

“Passion, honesty + fun”: Restless Writers chat with the Wordbitches

On AirWriting groups have their own chemistry. The Restless Writers thrive on spontaneity, adaptability and flexibility (not to mention butter tarts). We’re not sticklers for submission deadlines or critiquing guidelines. When @restlessbjas and I found out that our Twitter friends in a writing group from Calgary have actual rules for their meetings, we got curious.

The women in this group, who totally own their “wordbitches” hashtag, are a kick-ass group of writers working in a variety of genres. At the Surrey International Writers Conference (SiWC), they told us a little about their writing group, but I wanted to hear more about how they operate. So, we organized a little Twitter chat last Sunday so the Restless Writers and the Calgary crew could continue the conversation.

We kicked off the chat promptly at 10:00pm EST. A bit late for me, but perfect for those who have to put kiddies to bed first. Using the #wordbitches hashtag, we jumped right in.

First up—what makes this group tick? According to @trish_loye, it’s the diversity of genres and backgrounds in the group that makes them gel. @Ironic_Mom also pointed out that, while they don’t take themselves seriously, they take their craft seriously.

It turns out that SiWC and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta played a part in how this group came together about four years ago. While the number of members has gone up and down over time, they’re sticking to what they consider capacity at seven members. And the chemistry is working. @Ironic_Mom said “Only those who can stand passion, honesty + fun stay.”

They have a sophisticated system for managing the five or so critiques that happen at each meeting: @Ironic_Mom says “ding” when time’s up. (The Restless Writers might have to adopt this tactic. We’re a bit chatty.)

Another of their tricks is to do the readings and critique in the order the submissions are received; so the earlier you submit, the better the chance you will get feedback in that week’s meeting.

Each writing group has its challenges starting out. We swapped stories about the colourful characters who didn’t quite fit with the group at the start. (What was the exact phrase, @RestlessLori? “Newbie wing-nut”?) That first meeting can be terrifying, as @elenaaitken said, and I’m impressed this core group of gals stuck it out.

We had a few Twitter friends join in the chat, including @comedyoferrers, @DancesWithChaos and @offbalancepaige. This gave us the chance to observe that women in writing groups = enthusiasm for wine and Brie.

We were blown away by how much this group gets accomplished. They work, they blog, they commit to 500 words a day, they manage kids and DHs (short for “Dear Husband”—we learned some new terms during this chat). How do they do all this? The answer: their work and the group is a priority. Everyone has their ways of squeezing in mini-writing sessions during the day. While carrying pen and paper around at all times, learning to say “no” to the boob tube and bribing your children are all effective tactics, it also sounds like having a supportive family makes a huge difference.

We got a lot accomplished during the chat:

1) @Ironic_Mom purchased the domain name.
2) We decided that we absolutely must organize a joint writing conference/Brie-orgy in Banff in 2011.
3) @RestlessLori coined the word “booey” (see her blog post for definition).
4) @elenaaitken finalized that day’s word count at 1904.
5) I decided that “diablogue” is an awesome word and I must have it at all costs. (We’re writers. We get to make up words all the time.)
6) @trish_loye snagged the remaining peanut butter cups from her kids’ Halloween stash.
7) @restlessbjas became an unofficial spokesperson for

The hour-long chat passed too quickly for me. There’s still so much we can gain by sharing our best writing practices with each other. Here’s to next time!

If I missed any very important points, ladies, please share them here. Later, #wordbitches!



Filed under Diablogue, Group meetings, Success stories

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

Perfectly published

One of my stories, “A Perfect Envelope,” was published today on Every Day Fiction, a must-visit flash fiction site. I’m seriously excited. Here’s a link:

If you like it, rate it! And I’d love to hear your comments.

And if you want a new story in your inbox every day, sign up at



Filed under Getting published, Success stories

Coffee = fuel for restless writers

EspressoI wholly believe that writers are a restless bunch who need a change of scenery every so often to write at their best. Starbuck’s coffee shops and William’s cafes are filled with writers and poets who find inspiration among the aroma and vibe of the local java joint.

A few years ago, the Toronto Star asked some coffee-shop writers what they were working on. An article today follows up with those same writers to see how far they’ve come.

The next time you’re settled into a cosy chair in your favourite cafe, strike up a conversation with the scribbler beside you. You never know if that writer will be the next Giller Prize winner.



Filed under Inspiration, Success stories


I meant to post these as they happened but, as often happens, s**t happened.

Anyway, someone asked what I write (besides the odd post on this blog). Here are some short examples of my writing (and the sites are great resources for writers looking to get published!) that demonstrate my writing voice:


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Filed under Success stories


A short story that I wrote for a workshop was re-worked (thanks, Maria!) and chosen for publication! It can be found on the Every Day Fiction website. Do I qualify as a published author even if the payment couldn’t get me a latte?


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Filed under Success stories