More questions. The same person asking and they really want to stay anonymous so I might get a bit vague.
One of the things this person and I have talked about is my less than stellar experience with writing groups and other writer spaces, both in meat space and on the internets.
Frankly, my experiences with writer spaces haven’t been great, honestly. My first experiences were so overwhelmingly White and cis male I did not feel comfortable sharing any of my work for the most part. And for a few years had an issue with men “finding out” that I wrote erotica and harassing me.
Later on, as I started to think more about my own identity as a human, and what I was writing and how, as I got to read more critically in terms of sexuality and the political I found a lot of writer spaces were just not for me.
I remember pointing out the inherent sexism in a story I read on a writer’s list, it was honestly coming from a deeply misogynistic place and I will say that I was fairly gentleish about it and after that, the man who wrote it was fairly short/had an attitude with me.
In meat space things haven’t been a whole lot better.
I was invited once to a meat space writing group for ladies. I went and immediately things were just not awesome for me. Things were okay for about ten minutes until I read my piece and it was kinda crickets and a lot of uncomfortable shifting. If I remember right, it was some of my first tries at crime fiction and it was just a terrible fit.
Then in modern times I was a member of that big infamous container full of women.
It was fucking awful.
My experiences there and the things said to me were the epitome of #solidarityisforwhitewomen. It was so incredibly awful that I rage quit and then cried about it because it could have been a great source of solidarity and resources and whatnot, but the racism from the color blind, to the level of swinging privilege like a bat and having women playing pinata with every WOC there was just too much. I felt so deeply disrespected by those women, I couldn’t hack it.
So honestly, I think I’ve just been burned too many times.
I think that my exposure ruined me for a lot of that experience. So I learned to write without it.
That said, from what I hear the right workshop can do wonders for folks.
For me I’ve really changed how I work in general and most of the time it doesn’t mesh well with a formalized workshop/writing group generally speaking.
That said, I study writing.
I read a lot of great books. I follow authors I’m really into on social media. I work on it. I play with it. I use things like prompts, and interview questions etc as ways to try new things and stretch my voice.
It’s why I love doing Yeah, Write so much.
So to answer the other question this person asked, no you don’t have to do shit.
The only thing you have to do as an artist is figure out what works for you.
Also in terms of access, those of us who are poor and working and have families blablabla, like we can’t always spend 485$ to learn how to submit or learn how to write a story or whatever. For folks who can, don’t stop get it get it.
A lot of us can’t and that information is out there.
What’s most important to my own growth as an author is that I learn how to express what I mean to express however I can. Be it poems, non fiction, whatever. For me that is super gratifying and having an audience is like having the tastiest most awesome you wouldn’t scrape it off frosting.
Work that shit out and write like a mother fucker.
I mean I’ve not done the conventional thing. And I’m very happy with where I’m at right now.
I mean look I have a book coming out from a brand new indie publisher who is my fucking dream.
OH shit that reminds me.
This is our shirts for SCLAB. We’re doing ONE more week of these then different stuff later.
But here’s the thing. No I’m not as famous as Roxane or a bunch of other WOC writers I admire.
But I’m doing this shit the way I need and want to and that is amazing.
So my friend, write like a mother fucker.
Work out what works.
Do the damn thing.
Tomorrow another Billy remix for yeah write.