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Still Floatin' -- Awesome Austin Writers' Workshop
book cover
liz_scanlon
As a writer and a mama, one of the things I do to stay sane is lower my expectations, writing-wise, during summer vacation. 
And when I say lower, think basement. 
Like, um, a coupla grocery lists, a few emails with my editor and lots of trips to the library.

Because honestly, I'm already teaching a class that requires a whole lot of critiquing, and the girls are only out of school for a couple of months, and there are popsicles to be eaten. The last thing I need is a constantly-running brain hum:

You are not worth your weight in pencil lead... everyone else in the known universe has written reams this week, except you... time is running out -- all books need to be finished in the next 24 hours... your brain will be mush by September... you'd better review some basic vocabulary words... you'd better review the alphabet.

Nope.
Not gonna go there.
Instead, I just aim low and enjoy any surprises that come my way.

Last summer it was my trip to L.A. for the SCBWI conference that shot my expectations out of the water.
And then a fevered, late-summer writing binge that resulted in my next picture book.

Now, already, I've crushed this season's delusions of nothingness.

Here's how:

I spent most of the past 72 hours with a most extrordinary group of children's writers.

Months ago, nearly 30 of us exchanged manuscripts and started reading.
Friday morning, we gathered at the gracious home of Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith & we barely budged for 3 days.

(Well, okay. Unless you count the grand party thrown at the fabulous, view-happy home of workshoppee Helen Hemphill on Saturday night. We did not suffer...)

Each and every piece was critiqued with meticulous attention, ideas and admiration (and I'm telling you guys, these are some fine, fine budding books.)

Everyone was so interested and interesting, generous, thoughtful, careful, honest.
And everyone was funny, to boot.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only writer who was a little weepy when things broke up on Sunday and we returned to our real lives. I mean, of course. Right?  

But here's the beautiful part.

This is my real life. 
This is my real community. 
These are real people who are real good with real words and generous hearts and I've got them in my real life. 

Which is why, instead of coming crashing back down today amidst errands and chores, I'm still floatin'.

(Thanks, Greg, Cyn, Donna, Carmen, Tim, Julie, Helen and all the rest of you amazing voices for a heckuva weekend...)

From all accounts I've read, it sounds like one heck of a weekend. You all have an amazing writing community! I hope we are able to build one just as strong in our area someday.

We are blessed and lucky, to be sure. You can build it, though, anywhere!

You know you don't actually have to come down. Ever. Floatin' is good for the perspective. Well, that AND you've got a triathlon in a few days that it'd probably be pretty nice if you kept some of the floatin' in your back pocket as a reserve. :)

Floatin' IS good for the perspective. Not so good for following directions or making sure you've got food in the cupboard. But very good for perspective....

So far both you & Jo W. have made me feel a little weepy about it today! ;-) You reminded me how funny it was, too. I laughed so much.

This is my real life.
This is my real community.
These are real people who are real good with real words and generous hearts and I've got them in my real life

THIS IS THE BEAUTIFUL PART!
You phrase everything so well, and I loved the weekend, too :)

You have a way with words yourself, Ms. Hoover :)

Awesome. Sounds like just what you needed in the middle of summer -- or, uh, beginning of summer. I was surprised to learn it officially began about one or two weeks ago. And here I thought it was almost over. :)
Jules, 7-Imp


I know. I get that "it's almost over" feeling before the solstice hits sometimes....

Liz! So happy to hear you are still floating... Especially since you are so good at lifting us up!
I, too, am still giddy and recharged. But I'm going to miss hanging out with you all. The tears definitely flowed on the ride home.

Edited at 2008-07-01 02:54 pm (UTC)

Yes. Homesick for everyone....

What would we ever do without your wisdom and great cheer! Thank you so much for bringing your grace and energy to the event!

What would we do without YOUR wisdom and great cheer and grace and energy, My Cyn?????

I love how much you loved the whole experience. Thanks for sharing!

It was really somethin', that's for sure...

AAWW

(Anonymous)

2008-07-10 04:23 pm (UTC)

Its been a couple weeks since AAWW and I'm starting to miss all of you. I thought I'd check out the blogs. Hey there Liz!
Varsha

thanks!

(Anonymous)

2010-06-25 07:17 am (UTC)

Oh I love this! Thank you for this post. Even though I am in the feverish stage of finishing a picture book, I am already looking at aiming low by the end of summer. Enjoy your down time and I am sure you will be inspired by summer days!

www.sarahjanestudios.com

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