Tag Archives: diablogue

Fries with a side of fries

Or, What happens when we try to follow the rules

Ever wanted to listen in on a Restless Writers’ meeting? Here’s a peek at our minutes from last Tuesday’s session. Because we’re all orderly & $#!T

fries with a side of friesRestless Writers, Nov. 16/10 (Birthday Edition)
Minutes

1) Call to order
• L and B pronounced the Tin Cup parking lot to be inaccessible and the entrances ill-designed.
     • Action: L to submit letter requesting management to make a frickin’ driveway on Upper Middle.
• L and B seconded M’s decision to choose fries with a side of fries for dinner. L harassed the waitress into recommending the steak sandwich. B made an initially healthy-dinner choice not so much by adding crispy chicken.
• B drew attention to the fact that she had 900 followers on Twitter, and four full manuscripts in the hands of agents. L and M were suitably impressed.
     • Tangent: B explained her smart writer-focused Twitter strategy; L agreed that unfollowing people who unfollow you is imperative; M agreed to start “tweeting dangerously.”

2) Banff writing retreat
• Potential dates in February and April were vetoed due to pre-existing vacation plans.
• Motion put forward by L to plan to hold the retreat pre- or post-Stampede in July 2011. Decision pending approval by the Wordbitches.
     • Tangent: L told us that Calgary was the STD capital of Canada. B and L are followed by Jann Arden, and both noted this with a “squee.” L hates Rush, so L and M are officially in a fight. To resolve the tension, all agreed that Blue Rodeo’s “Try” is awesome.

3) RW blog posts
• B is posting later this week
     • Action: B to approach Denise Jaden, author of LOSING FAITH and fellow SiWC attendee, about an interview for a post
• M thought posting the minutes from one of the meetings would be hilarious, and could be categorized as a diablogue. L and B rolled their eyes, but agreed.
     • Tangent: B led a discussion about what the group should do for New Year’s Eve. B wants to put on a fancy dress and go dancing. M wants to wear her Nine West platforms. L has a baby-sitter and has found her razor. Motion by B to hear Freedom Train at Geraldo’s in LaSalle Park. Decision pending band’s schedule and ability to find a date (affectionately nicknamed “Juan Carlos”) for M.

4) Planning for the next 6-month horizon
• B asked if we should “like, bring stuff?” to the next meeting. Hilarity and self-pity ensued.
• B stated for the record that we suck. L and M glumly agreed.
     • Actions:
          • B to bring most recent iteration of her non-fiction proposal and a query letter, and invest in a smartphone.
          • L will continue to make excuses for not querying agents, but will then actually start querying early next week. L will also share her hippie school parenting article.
          • M will edit her sleep essay and submit pages before next meeting, as long as indexing doesn’t get in the way.

Next meeting scheduled for Dec 16.
Meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Hugs.

Maria

Amendment, Nov. 18/10: It’s Banff that’s the STD capital of Canada (thanks Lori!). Apologies to all pure-as-the-driven-snow Calgarians.

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Filed under Diablogue, Group meetings, Trials and Tribulations

“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 wordbitches.com 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 www.grocerygateway.com.

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!

Maria

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Filed under Diablogue, Group meetings, Success stories