Looking Back, Moving ForwardCelebrating writing is both an affirmation for the writers and a gift, education, or entertainment for the listeners. The journey is smoother for me in the company of writers. Writing colleagues Duke Southard, Denise Roessle, and I take our show on the road with Looking Back, Moving Forward, a panel discussion on memoir. Next stop—Tucson.

Most often I write in the solitude of a room whose wide windows open up to the blue sky and foothills of Tucson, Arizona. And yet when I’m writing, “Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.” Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones.

I have learned that I can go deeper, thrash it out, look more critically into that tunnel of writing, because on the other side is cleaner, crisper, more authentic writing. AND I am not alone.

Informal research tells me there are over 42 million freelancers in the US and over half of them claim writing is their main occupation. Over 282,00 employed writers. Where are they, along with emerging writers? We’re not hunkering down over the laptop, alone in our cubbies, or isolated cabins, or coffee shops. We’re meeting in partnerships, groups, and retreats.

Each week my dining room table is host to poets, memoirists, novelists, and how-to writers at the Eastside Writing Room for the shared energy and serenity of writing together. Stating our intention at the beginning of each session we settle into laptop writing, or by hand, in uninterrupted quiet and energy of a shared space. The stories that table could tell!

Sunset Writers offers realistic feedback on content structure, and the emotional tone of our writing. What I like about this…What confused me about this…Dig deeper. Cut the crap. Do the research. You’ve nailed it! Contact me for info on how to start your group. Or join us.

Brewd- a coffee lounge

Brewd- a coffee lounge

Writers Read builds on the camaraderie of writers in sharing both published and works in progress at local Tucson area venues. This month on November 5th, seven of us will be at Brewd 4960 N. Sabino Canyon Road, Tucson from 6:30-8:00 pm. Join us.

And here’s my promise to myself and fellow writers for 2015. A honest to goodness “get away, we’ll take care of your needs, you take care of your writing” Writers Retreat. The seed was planted years ago at a Lorraine Ash New Jersey memoir retreat. It’s been simmering and bubbling away until I heard myself declaring in public, “2015 is the year we’ll do it.” I’ve got a folder labeled 2015 WRITERS RETREAT. That usually seals it, as many of my friends will tell you. Look for more info. Join us.

Seedlings -NM AZ FinalistMy writing life encompasses solitary work, sharing, and celebrating. Sharing drafts, bits and pieces, ‘what if’ ideas, chapters, and celebrating published books. This solitary and group writing helped me complete and publish my second book, Seedlings, Stories of Relationships, which I am happy to say, is now wearing a proud sticker that says Finalist 2014 New Mexico Arizona Book Awards. Hoping to cover that up with a winner label in November.

May your days be filled with creative ideas, and the time to write them all down.