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Friday, October 07, 2011

It's like Woodstock, but for word-hippies

This weekend I'm headed to the Portland literary festival, Wordstock. It's the largest literary festival in the Pacific Northwest and it's held for two days at the Oregon Convention Center. I'm going, in part, to learn about  the business of writing. I'm attending a workshop on that topic and I'm hoping to make some good connections in the business. I don't really know what to expect, but I'm excited to branch out in the community and learn more about what it takes to be a professional writer.

Have you been to Wordstock? Are you going?

2 comments:

PastorGregO said...

I'm not going, but I am interested in improving my writing skills. Any simple/practical suggestions?

James Wood said...

The number one suggest is: write.

I'm not trying to be glib, it's just the only way to improve. Obviously all the writing for school helps, but that's a very specialized kind of writing that doesn't apply much outside the academic world.

Write for your blog (I know you do), write stories, write article. Participate in NaNoWriMo and write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.

Also read widely. See how other people say things that get your attention. Deconstruct what they've done that you like. You will be able to write what you like to read far better than writing what you think people want to hear. Right now I'm reading Les Miserables, it's long and often boring, but there's a way the Hugo puts words together that is unlike anyone else.

Ask for and accept criticism. Writing isn't just the act of getting words out of your head. It's a collaboration with editors to craft the words. If you can't hear critique and improve from it, then your writing won't get any better.