Last Saturday, I participated in a Hike and Write event through my workplace. Actually, I was a co-organizer of the event but since it was not well attended, I participated in the discussion and writing activities as if I was an attendee.
It is no secret that I like to write. I’ve written this blog daily for over two years. I used to run a writer’s circle for third grade students. I started writing a research paper to report on a study that I planned and conducted in late 2018. And, the courses I always did best in during school were those courses in which I had to write an essay answer.
But, Saturday’s workshop was not on reflective writing like this blog and the blog’s that belong to the Slice of Life: Tuesday forum on WordPress. Nor was the workshop on academic writing, although two of the attendees were local college students. The workshop was on nature inspired writing. To start, the speaker read two poems. One was called “Porcupine” by Linda Hogan and the other was called, “Things I Love About Where I Am,” by Kathe Davis.
The purpose of these poems was to have us notice “the little things” the authors have brought to life in their writing. While the writing techniques were not foreign to us, the listeners, we did note how well they were done. The Porcupine piece especially resonated with us. For me, it had an unexpected element, that made it even more memorable.
Next, we had to go outside for a writing exercise. This was an attempt to have us notice the little things in nature or our environment instead of the big, showy characteristics like colorful vistas. Our instructions were to stop three times and notice something using all five of our senses. I chose a dried garden plant (type unknown) with interesting seed heads, a stone border, and a gnarly but young tree.
After, we went back inside and discussed how the first exercise went. We then returned to the out-of-doors to practice free writing. We were given ten minutes to perform non-stop writing using a prompt of our own choosing from one of the three observational stops made previously. I chose to write about the stones.
When time was up, I had an incomplete, but still coherent piece about the stones in the park that formed a border. I like how it sounds so far, but I know it is only the beginning of a better piece.
At the end, there were a few minutes for questions. My question was this: Where do you find readers for your work? The term reader in this instance refers not to all of you who are reading my blog now, or will tomorrow, or the next day. I truly appreciate that you stop by and read what I have to say. But, I am referring to the readers of pieces I might want to polish and send for publication. Where do you find those readers?
I want to know because I am not sure I have a “reader” in my group of friends. I certainly do not have one in my family. Most of my extended family does not read my blog. And, those family members that do read it are too close to me to not spur a knee-jerk defensive reaction if they were to question something I wrote or how I wrote it. Who can you trust enough to give you honest and knowledgeable feedback? Where did you find that person? Do you read for them, as well?
I think, preferably, one’s readers are also fellow writers. Don’t you think?
Do you have readers?
If so, where did you find them?
The answer I got from the workshop was from attending workshops!
I’m not sure I am ready for that, yet!