I spent last weekend (wow, was it only a week ago?) getting my writerly self thoroughly Mixmastered by Dean Wesley Smith. I think my brain finally decided to rejoin the living yesterday.
Dean and Kristine Kathryn Rusch teach amazing workshops for pro writers. I’ve been traveling to the Oregon coast several times a year for *mumblemumble* years getting a seriously intense, one-of-a-kind education in both the craft and business of making a living as a pro fiction writer. Last weekend was no exception.
Want to know what it’s like?
We hit the ground running Friday evening with the first session at 7:00. Dean’s method is to throw you off the deep end, then help you learn how to swim to shore on your own. (Works great; I always learn more from my failures than my easy successes.) In keeping with the deep end approach, Dean assigned homework due at the 10:00 a.m. Saturday session. That little assignment (read 22,000 words of fiction and then write stuff) kept me up until 3:30 in the morning Friday night.
Saturday we had three workshop sessions: 10:00, 2:30, and 8:00, with projects assigned at the end of each session due the beginning of the next. More reading; more writing. By Saturday evening, I began to wonder if the single ream of paper I’d brought with me would be enough.
Saturday evening’s session went til 11:30 (lots of business discussions in this one), with more projects due on Sunday morning at 10:00. I was up until nearly 4:00 in the morning getting my stuff done, and I still had to pack so I could be out of my room before the Sunday morning session.
Did I mention I ate meals in my room just so I could get my work done? If it wasn’t for Kip at the The Anchor Inn (where the workshop was held), I would have eaten all my meals by myself. No one can resist a Kip breakfast.
By the time the workshop ended at noon-thirty on Sunday, I was in a serious “fire bad, tree pretty” place. (Yes, that’s a random Buffy reference.) I still had a day and a half of driving to do to get home, but you know what? I’d do it all over again. In a heartbeat. Dean packed so much learning into those two days, I feel like I’ve made a major leap forward in my craft, not to mention my business.
Popcorn kittens, guys. Popcorn kittens.