Perfecting your craft

Do you have a craft? Maybe you carve duck decoys. My dad did that for many years and he got very good at it. I have one of his ducks on my bookcase. But he didn’t get there overnight. In the beginning he wasn’t very good. But because it was something he enjoyed, he worked at it until he made beautiful decoys.

Writing is my new craft. It’s one that I work to get better at. I recently took a class on mystery writing from Continuing Education at the University of Utah. It was taught by the awesome Johnny Worthen. I learned a lot about what makes a good mystery. It also reinforced things that I had been reading about “how to write”. And he really encouraged me the night that I read my first couple of pages in class and his response was, “That. Was. Outstanding.” Johnny, you don’t know how much that means to me.

LUWLargeIn my quest to become a good writer, I’ve joined the League of Utah Writers. This group has been around for a long time. Since 1935 to be exact. This group puts on writing clinics and the various chapters throughout the state meet monthly. The league is putting several workshops over the next few months and I’ve signed up for every one of them. Here’s what’s in store:

Editing Workshop – July 9
Several editors will teach how to edit. There will be plenty of time for some hands-on editing. Not with our own works, but with the works of others. While I’m no where close to the editing stage, I’ll get pointers to help me when that time comes and some that will help me write better to begin with.

Querying Workshop – August 6
If you’re not a writer, this class sounds strange. You may be saying, “What is querying?” Basically, it’s getting your work out to agents and publishers. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to get an agent or just go directly to a small publishing house or even self-publish, but no matter which way I go, this class will give me insight in how to approach the pros.

Utah Comiccon – September 1-3
I’ll admit it. This isn’t run by the league, but there will be plenty of panel discussions about how to write and authors to meet. LUW will have a table there too.

Fall Conference – September 3-4
Two full days of classes! The schedule isn’t out yet, but this promises to be a great event. There’s sure to be much knowledge to digest and apply to my craft.

Infinite Monkeys’ Writing Retreat – October 6-9
Think what it will be like to be tucked away at a cabin in the mountains where the only goals are to write. For hours. Well, there will be plenty of that. But also a few classes and movies every night to slice and dice from an authors view point. This will be epic and I’m so excited about it.

Intermingled in all this are monthly meetings for the two LUW chapters I belong to. And, of course, working on my first draft. With luck, I’ll be able to get that done this fall.

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