Okay, one great, great thing about being back in the great Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area is the chance to meet and greet with renowned authors, not to mention the opportunity to network with fellow aspiring writers.
An excellent example: Walter Mosley will be at the Barnes & Noble on Northwest Highway tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm for a booksigning. His book about writing, This Year You Write Your Novel, has been on my must-read list for a few months now, and listening to an interview he gave this afternoon to the local NPR affiliate (http://www.kera.org/think) only inspired me even more to get a hold of this book ASAP. If KERA offers a podcast of the interview on their Web site soon, any writer worth his/her salt should definitely set aside some time to listen to the whole broadcast. Mosley offered up some thoughts on the writing process and the evolution of the characters in his latest mystery series. (He also mentioned that he usually goes through anywhere from ten to thirty [!!!] rewrites when writing a book. Whew. Okay, I don’t feel so bad about the utter awfulness of my debut effort.)
Another great example of useful local writing resources is The Writers’ Garret, a literary nonprofit based at Paperbacks Plus, one of the few remaining independent bookshops here in the North Texas area. Richard Price will be speaking at an event there later this month. And of course, the D/FW Writers’ Workshop is filled with dedicated writers — both published and aspiring — who meet weekly in the Mid-Cities to critique each other’s work and lend each other loads of much-needed moral, intellectual and literary support. I’ve attended a few of their meetings in the past, but for one reason or another never joined. My reasons had nothing to do with the organization — it’s a great group of folks — my job was often so demanding of my time that I usually couldn’t make the meetings.
I’m looking forward to being more involved with the local literary community. I think in the past I always made excuses about joining this or that group, when in truth I probably was just too scared to expose what I always imagined was horrific writing to an innocent audience. After having read many, many, many successful writers’ happy confessions of the incredible usefulness of writing groups, however, I’m willing to possibly subject myself to the agony. It’s a critical step to taking your writing seriously, when you’re willing to work with more experienced and talented writers who will help you take apart a manuscript word-by-word and polish it to perfection.