Mom Musings Without the Kid: Writerlicious

By Erin McCrea

This week, my Mom Musings has nothing to do with being a mom. I’m always a mom, but some days I get to do things on my own. I get my own time, and I’m very thankful for it.

I wrote a book about six years ago. I wrote it before my son was even a thought. I was so proud of it. I’ve edited it many times. Sometimes, I give up on it. I let it sit instead of trying to get it published.

Nothing inspires me more than being with other writers. Nothing motivates me more than listening to an amazing writer and author speak about her passion.

Right now, my novel is being edited, and I’ve made it a priority to get it published in one way or another.

I recently spent a Saturday afternoon at a writing workshop hosted by the Saskatoon Writers’ Collective. It was the 3rd Annual Writerlicious. Gail Bowen facilitated the workshop.

Two years ago, I attended the first ever Writerlicious. It was facilitated by the wonderful Alice Kuipers. (It was also the first time I met Casey, the editor and creator of The Sask Press.)

This year encompassed an afternoon spent with Gail Bowen. She spoke about writing, and it was such a great day. I have loved Gail Bowen’s books for years. During university, I took her playwriting class. I have never really been interested in playwriting, but I loved creative writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the class. It was unfortunate that the University of Regina did not offer many creative writing classes in the English program at that time. I was grateful for the two I took.

Saskatoon Writers’ Collective puts on a fantastic workshop. This year, they incorporated a section called “Blind Date With A Book.” They were selling books for five dollars each. Each book was wrapped in beautiful paper and included a description of the book. I bought one for myself because I loved the idea.

This year, Writerlicious was held at Amigos in Saskatoon. They have a room in the back for events. I didn’t know this room was there, but it worked well. The event was sold out so the room was quite full, but none of us minded as it was a great way to talk to the stranger next to you. After the talk, but before questions, we had a wonderful buffet of appetizers. Anyone who has been to Amigos knows that this is a good thing.The food was delicious.

The workshop was different than Bowen’s university classes. Firstly, it was hosted during one afternoon. Secondly, it felt like a discussion. Gail Bowen spoke to all of us as though we were her friends. She took us through her writing process, and she talked to us about her career in writing and teaching. She spoke to us about the books she reads.

There was time at the end for questions, and she made sure to answer all of them. She also waited at the end for anybody who wanted a book signed, to thank her personally, or to have a photo taken with her.

Bowen brought a sheet with detailed information on mystery writing. It was used in a different class she ran that focussed on mysteries, and it was easily adaptable for any kind of writing.

As I listened throughout the event, I strived to write down the words that spoke to me the most.

“Writers write to their strengths.” My writing has a lot of dialogue, and not as many descriptions as there probably could be. My strengths are dialogue and emotion. They are  what I love the most and what I focus on while I write. I need to learn to write everything, but those will always be my favourites.

She spoke about writing every day and the feeling of missing out when you don’t write. Bowen suggested always carrying a notebook or journal to jot down ideas and moments that keep you connected to your work and writing. I am constantly emailing myself random thoughts if I don’t have a pen with me. I have an entire page in one of my journals about something I overheard while at a restaurant.

She also suggested editing from the day before. I don’t do this, but it’s a great idea. It will reconnect me with what I wrote the day before and remind me where my characters were headed where I left off writing the day before.

“Writing is a continuous act of discovery.” This spoke to me the most. I’m constantly learning something new as I write, especially while I’m writing my novel. My characters are constantly surprising me.

Bowen also encouraged us to get an engaging protagonist, stating, “Create a narrator protagonist with whom your reader will want to spend time.” This is so true. If my protagonist doesn’t interest me, how will readers want to spend time with her?

There were so many more amazing pearls of wisdom, even simple words, she shared with everyone who was in attendance. I’m sure that every person there took away something different. I’m sure that most of the audience left feeling as inspired as I did.

I loved every second of this workshop, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

I’m a member of the Saskatoon Writers Collective, and I love going to the workshops they put on. It is wonderful to be a part of a group that is there to encourage and help writers as much as they can.

Now, for the Mom Musings part of my day, I spent the afternoon away from my son. I spent the day doing something I love, and this form of self-care was exactly what I needed.

Never be scared to chase your dreams. Never be afraid to take time away so you can learn. I want my son to see me chasing my dreams. My son will know I hold no regrets as I fulfill my writing goals.

Mom Musings is going to have weekly pieces starting soon. It will be “Mom Musings On the Go.” I’ll be writing about discovering Saskatchewan with my family. I’m really looking forward to sharing our adventures with you.

Stay tuned for more Mom Musings from a Write at Home Mom.

To read more of Erin’s work, you can check out her blog “Writing Momma Life,” her Instagram page “The Writing Momma Life,” & her Facebook page “The Writing Momma Life.”