Lately, my facebook feed has been filled with stories and pictures and energy from about three-fourths of the people on my friends list as they return from Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind Workshop (http://inyourwritemind.setonhill.edu/) and those attending as students of Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction (http://www.setonhill.edu/academics/fiction/index.cfm).
I received my Master of Arts through this program back in January 2011, but was unable to attend the workshop this year due to copious amounts of work, having just returned from another in the long list of extended research trips, my employer almost short changing me on the time I have left where I’m currently living, and beginning the initial planning process for yet another extended research trip. The program is set up so that I can return at any time I wish to upgrade my MA to the MFA, but time is always against me.
I missed going, just like I miss attending any and all of the residencies and workshops. There’s just something powerful and heartwarming about being surrounded by so many people who are just as passionate about writing as I am. Horror writer Scott A. Johnson’s blog about the In Your Write Mind Workshop (http://americanhorrorwriter.blogspot.com/2012/06/retreat-retreat.html) is probably one of my favorite that I’ve read so far and sums up most of my feelings about writer’s retreats and conventions. I’ve attended the World Fantasy Convention a couple times in the past and I’ve participated consistently in local writing groups, but it’s not the same. Granted, many of the writing conventions are getting to be a lot better as the SHUers continue to invade and conquer those in ever-increasing droves, but the energy is simply not the same. Conventions aren’t designed purely for learning, as the In Your Write Mind Workshop is, and most writing groups don’t have enough serious writers to make the group worthwhile. The only place I’ve found that challenges me as a writer, provides me the energy to write about every crazy story idea I’ve ever had, and surrounds me with an entire network of like-minded writers is Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program.
I am hoping to be in a better position next year to be able to attend the In Your Write Mind Workshop, and possibly drag some of those nearby with me. Life has a funny ability to get in the way of the plans we make for ourselves, though. One thing is certain, however. I need to set aside more time to write every day so I can move this new novel through faster than it’s moving right now. It’s a great story. I like the characters and the story is making me question a huge amount of things that I take for granted every day. But isn’t that the point of a really good story?