2020 opened far more doors than it closed for me as a writer.
There’s nothing romantic about that statement, just in case you were wondering. No muses, or inspiration or gooey epiphanies of any sort.
First of all, I and my husband both lost our jobs overnight. Boom, I had all the time in the world to finish the first draft of my novel, Windward, in the middle of the desert.
Never saw that coming with three kids under the age of eight.
Then, the entire writing community, complete with workshops, networks and webinars ran online to Zoomland.
Suddenly, groups which used to meet 40 minutes away from my house at bedtime were now in my basement, and I could hear the pitter patter of my children’s feet stampeding above my head while learning about query letters and writing ‘the other.’ Not only were these essential resources more easily accessed from my hobbit hole of an office/guest room, but all of them were infinitely more affordable.
Because of social distancing, the cost of becoming a writer was slashed down to the size of my budget for a family of five.
One after another, incredible free or low-cost opportunities to learn from amazing writers across the country fell to my thirsty search bar. I poached a mentor from Aspen Writer’s Network and took free seminars from Jackson Hole Writers. I joined more than half the industry groups in the state of Colorado, then sat for webinars from PEN writers in Los Angeles. I even discovered an amazing critique group through Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers that seems determined to put up with me.
During a pandemic, I have learned more about the craft and business of writing than I ever believed was possible without at least an MA.
Now, I am looking ahead to a few more incredible opportunities, also made possible by the letters ‘C-O-V-I and D’.
This week, I start a (remote) four-week workshop with the gifted Rachel Weaver through Lighthouse Writers in Denver focusing on revising this lumpy first-and-a-half draft in front of me.
Then, in March, I was accepted into the competitive Futurescapes speculative fiction writing workshop. This is a big one for me right now, especially because without the online setting, I would never have been able to afford to attend, let alone travel to wherever it was held. With some pretty damn respectable spec-fic agents, editors, and authors running intensive workshops, along with the opportunity to learn alongside other writers who are in the same trenches as I am, I can’t wait to see how many more doors I can kick in this year.