Steps In Between

Celaine Charles ~ My journey as a writer ~ Author site:

My Upcoming Writing Conference (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

PNWA pic 4

My Upcoming Writing Conference (the good, the bad, and the ugly):

The PNWA Writing Conference happens in less than a week in Seattle. This is a good news-bad news event for me. As eager as I am to soak in all the learning presented and meet other authors and writers, I still consider myself new in this writing world, and to be honest, I’m intimidated.

PNWA pic 5

Thankfully, my whole writing class is going, so I will have support while I am there. This is a substantial change from the last time when my experience was solo. I have also grown from the writer I was back then. My goals have risen far above where even I can see; I’m wandering in new territory and not necessarily feeling confident.

PNWA pic 2

Here’s the breakdown:

The Good The Bad
I have been invited to the Northwest Authors Autograph Party to promote my debut poetry book, Colors Collected, on Friday night. This is exciting and I am proud to attend, even if I only have a few attendees at my table. On Saturday morning, I will be re-pitching my fiction book, Seam Keepers, again from the last conference (although after a complete rewrite) and praying it doesn’t flop. I do not like pitching and feel more than nauseous at the thought.
I will be meeting up with my writing critique group friends throughout the event. We’ve all taken the same writing class over the past year and it’s nice to have others striving for and understanding of similar “authoring” goals. I don’t have to hide in my car, feeling isolated, like last time…which is actually a good thing. But as lost as I was last time, I would still have endured it because I learned things about the writing world I wouldn’t have without the experience. It was uncomfortable, but I did it!
I get to spend three out of four days learning all about writing and the world of authoring. There are so many experts and authors sharing their experiences and advice, I will bring a brand new journal to surely fill with notes. It might be information overload, but there are loads of helpful people through the PNWA willing to answer questions and help in any way. I will have to miss one day of the conference because of my day job (although I do love my day job). Thankfully, I will have friends to help share some of the Thursday big ideas. I am sad to miss the Pitch-Practice session (which if you read above, you know I am in desperate need of).
Any classes I miss I can order an audio recording. This is for PNWA members only, but it’s not too late to join. Thankfully, I can choose my classes easier, knowing I have an option to hear another one I’ve missed. With so many classes this year, I truly don’t know which ones to miss. I have been trying to imagine only hearing some of the lectures on audio (at home without being able to ask clarifying questions) verses being there live to see the full presentations. Sadly, I keep changing my mind when I look at the schedule.
With so many projects planned on my horizon, I can’t wait to take my writing to the next level. I want to learn the tricks of the trade now, to better help my success later. Then I want to share them with other writers like you! What if (like last time) I learn so much I realize I hate everything I’ve written before? I love to revise, so therefore, sometimes, it’s hard to call something done.
The Ugly
Going from a full week of teaching elementary children to a weekend of hard-core writing conference hullabaloo straight back to another week of classroom teaching with no breaks or sleep – scary! My poor students may realize there is more to “Miss Viola Swamp” than they bargained for… although nothing a morning of a “hot cocoa-math” can’t fix. They are a sweet bunch! 😊

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Suffice it to say, I’m excitedly nervous. Writing is something I’ve always done for myself and by myself. And for some shining reason two and a half years ago, I suddenly decided to open up and SHARE! Maybe I’d had too much wine? I remember finishing my first draft of Seam Keepers back in December of 2014. It was the first time I’d posted anything about me writing a book, and I did it on Facebook! A stack of printed pages and a glass of red wine: Presto, I’m a writer!

first draft SK

My first draft – now rewritten multiple times! 🙂

I suppose it’s held me accountable to myself and my dreams. Only now I have the anxiety of failing in front of everyone riding on my shoulders. It’s something I’m trying to breathe through…and most surely, I need to continue reminding myself to take things one day at a time.

Although these next couple of weeks will be crazy for me, I am determined to make it though. My hope is to land on the other side better for the experience.

PNWA writers resource

I will post all my amazing moments (and hopefully not too many awkward/anxiety-ridden ones) after the conference. For now, I need to create bookmarks and business cards, and buy brightly colored candy to prepare for my first book signing! If you’re in the SeaTac area on September 13th, stop by and see me between 8:30 and 10:00 PM. I’ll be the delirious one in a rainbow of colors.

Writing Advice: Your Turn!

I need the advice this time. I have been writing in “scenes” lately, instead of just plowing through chapters as I did in my last book. They feel tighter and more intentional. Only now, I’m feeling stuck on how to link them together.

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A while ago, I tried putting a couple of scenes together in a chapter of my new book, Dream Keepers. Recently, when I went back to read them through as a whole, I could feel the bump. That’s how I describe it to my students. When we write something one day, then add onto it another day without rereading the piece as a whole. The hump or bump in between is usually noticeable, as it was in my chapter. Each scene, although occurring at the same time and place in my story, seemed foreign from each other. I need both parts included; I’ve cut all I feel I can possibly cut. So now what?

If you have any tricks for smoothing scenes together, please private message me or leave your advice in the comments below. I truly appreciate your writing expertise.

As always, happy writing (because at least you’re writing),

Celaine Charles, September 8, 2019

photo cartoon pic 2

Image and Contact Links: (My Colors Collected poetry book, available on Amazon) (PNWA lit contest) (…develop wings on the way down) (book pages) (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) (writer’s at table)

My iPhone (stack of manuscript pages with red wine) 🙂

Categories: Thoughts on writing...

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6 replies

  1. I’m proud of everything you are doing. I have yet to get your new book, but it’s on my list of things to do! My list is long. Haha. The conference will be great. Be fully confident.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Have you read The Friend by Sigrid Nunez? Written in short scenes, fragments, thoughts. Really interesting structurally.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I truly wish I could be there to support you Celaine. You will be wonderful! One day I will get to visit you and your book is in my pile to be read now. I’ll review it when I’m done.

    Liked by 2 people

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