I’ve been a fairly regular member of a workshop, at the Dallas Writer’s Garret, since 2007 and can honestly say that by the last couple of meetings I’ve been able to resist the urge to lock myself in the restroom before my turn came to read. Because putting your work out there is scary. It’s amazing that we writers hope for publication, when our work may be seen by thousands of people, but fear putting it before a dozen.
But those dozen, of course, are the ones you see face to face. The ones who say things about your writing that ring in your ears. That’s the terrifying part, but it’s also the helpful part. I’ve heard unpublished writing at conventions, and the stories from writers who attended writers’ groups were better than those who hadn’t. It’s hard to be objective about our own work. We need to enlist the eyes and ears of others as well.
(There are online groups as well, but nothing quite beats the physical presence of other group members.)
After I had tried writing fiction for about a year and family members started to avoid me for fear I’d ask them to read my stuff, I realized I needed to find other writers. But how? An internet search turned up some possibilities, but for those of you in North Texas, I’ll list some I can vouch for from personal experience.
-- The Dallas Writer’s Garret. Moving from its current East Dallas location in January, but check www.writersgarret.org/ for the new place and times.
The late Texas Poet Laureate Jack Myers and his wife Thea Temple founded the Garret, which has its own education program as well as sponsoring writing workshops. Attendance at the workshops (called Stone Soups) is free for first-timers, $3 thereafter. Garret members also enjoy unlimited free attendance.
-- DFW Writers’ Workshop. Meets every Wednesday evening at 508 Simmons Street in Euless, Texas. Non-members may visit twice a year to observe but reading and critiquing is limited to members. Dues are $100 annually, prorated quarterly. DFWWW also sponsors a convention I’ll say more about in a later post. See www.dfwwritersworksho.org/ or call 817-714-6573.
-- North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop. Meets the second Saturday of each month except December at the Hurst Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 861 NE Mall Blvd., in Hurst, Texas. DFWWW member Pat Hauldren (Alley) is the founder and moderator. It was free when I attended a few years ago and I that’s still the case. See www.ntsfw.com/ This group (and several others) are also on
Contest deadlines -- December 15 (tomorrow!) is the deadline for the first short story competition from Short-Story.me. Contest fee is $5. See the site, www.short-story.me/ for details. (And check out my fantasy story “Shaman” from 2010 while you’re there.)
Also due December 15 -- Entries for SheWrites Young Adult Novel contest, whose proceeds benefit Girls Write Now. See www.shewrites.com/ for details (even if you’re a guy).
(Next Wednesday: Resolution number 3 -- find homes for your stories.)