Showing posts with label robert brewer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robert brewer. Show all posts

Monday, February 8, 2021

How I created Writers Circle around the Table

Robert Brewer, the senior editor for Writers' Digest, taught this class in my studio

For ten years I opened my door to my writing studio and enjoyed the writing instructors and the writing students who entered. They became friends of mine and came back again and again for classes in my casual and informal setting. What a blessing it was for me after my dear husband passed away in July 2009. 

I was lost at first, wondering what to do with my life now that I was alone and my friend and loved one was no longer there to comfort me, support me and encourage me to follow my dreams.
My poetry book, Now Might as Well Be Then, published by Finishing Line Press in October 2009, should have been a very happy experience for me, but without Barry to share my joy, I felt empty. I don't remember even giving one reading from my book. Nothing mattered as I grieved my loss.

I took a big step for myself a few months after losing my husband. I registered for a week's retreat at Wildacres, north of Asheville, NC, near the town of Little Switzerland. The four-hour drive up to the mountain site where the lodges were located filled me with anxiety. For forty-five years, I never traveled far without Barry driving me. Most people might not relate to my hesitancy to pack up my clothes and head to a place where I knew no one and had no idea what to expect when I arrived. But it was new and scary for me. I was extremely aware of being alone.

The week I lived, wrote, and made friends at Wildacres Retreat, changed me and prepared me to begin a new life. That week, I decided to live and do what I most enjoyed -- take classes with excellent writing instructors and teach beginning writers what I had learned.

With help from good friends, my downstairs area, my daylight basement, became Writers Circle around the Table, my writing studio. I loved that space in my house. It had a private entrance with a deck and the inside had two windows that brought in light. The wall of sliding glass doors created an atmosphere of openness that everyone enjoyed. We had such good times there. The fees for classes were low because I knew most of the writers in the area had only so much to spend on their hobbies.  I was able to bring in teachers for little money because I provided them a place to stay while there. With a private bedroom and spacious bathroom, free wi-fi, and time to work on their own projects, most of them loved coming to my studio.

Some students urged me to teach more classes, and soon I was holding a three-hour class once a week. 
Again, this was successful and enjoyable for me and my students. For ten years I lived alone and looked forward to classes with my students and writing friends. 

Carol Crawford, standing beside the whiteboard, taught these students in my studio.

But my life became stressful with the illness of my older sister, deaths in my family, and the worry about my last living brother and his ill wife. I felt the world was closing in on me. Running the studio began to be overwhelming. The hardest part was the advertising and promotion of classes. My time was spent, not on my poetry or prose writing, but writing promotional articles and emails trying to encourage writers to come to the studio for my classes or the classes of other writing instructors. Collecting fees and keeping up with expenses seemed more trouble than it was worth. My writing suffered and almost became extinct.

I was also trying to keep NCWN-West, the mountain program for writers that had helped me begin publishing my poetry in 1996, viable and intact although we had no leader. I had resigned when Barry was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, but I remained an active member. We found ourselves with no  Program Coordinator, and I did not feel I was ready to take the job again.  

Soon I was grieving again as I lost beloved family members. My sister, June, died and my brother, Hal died while caring for his seriously ill wife. A month later, she passed away as well.

The effort to continue the studio became too much for me. My physical health faltered and going up and down the stairs to the studio grew more and more difficult. With sadness, I stopped using my studio, stopped holding classes there, and no longer taught. 

Today, in spite of some health issues, I feel good and am teaching again. 
I am grateful for Zoom and other online venues that enable me to teach wherever I am - in Roswell with my sister or at home in Hayesville. Today I learned that the North Carolina Writers' Network annual Spring Conference will be online. I can attend from my home and feel connected to writers from far away. I can see familiar faces without having to travel long distances, learn from instructors so I can be a better teacher for my students.

As time goes by, we can adapt to the changes and still live the life we enjoy.
I urge all who read this to find new ways to continue with what you like to do and also find new ventures that are fulfilling even when you can't go out among people. I find it amazing how folks have invented ways to reach out and connect online, to bring people together virtually, to see loved ones and talk with them.

We live in a world today where it seems the Media is doing its best to frighten us out of existence.
I am hopeful and believe that we will live through the pandemic, we will all be vaccinated and one day this virus will be under control. Being fearful makes me sick, depressed, and hopeless, so I am not going to be scared that tomorrow will never come. I will continue to wear masks, to use all the prevention measures I know, to avoid crowds of people, to safe distance myself, and take care of myself and my loved ones even after I have my second vaccination shot.  I have learned what to do this past year and now it is my new normal. 

I hope you, my readers, are doing the same. I want us to all be back here next year feeling good about what we accomplished during these tough times.
What do you think?




 







Friday, March 17, 2017

What's Happening? This is happening.

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He offers good info for poets who follow him on Twitter or Facebook and who read his blog. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides


Robert was a guest at Writers Circle around the Table a few years ago, and I have followed him online since then. He is a very nice man, a father and husband, and gives many tips and ideas for poetry on his blog. He generously helps budding poets, and is accessible by email. You will gain good ideas from him. He travels to talk to writing groups, large and small. 

I met him at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge, GA where my friend, Carol Crawford, invited him to speak. And speaking of a wonderful writing event, the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference will be April 7 and 8 in Blue Ridge GA. It is one of the best small conferences I have ever attended. 

Mark your calendar now for this important day in May.

Writers, poets, playwrights and anyone who wants to publish fiction, nonfiction, or poetry will receive advice, tips and motivation at A Day for Writers, a one day conference in Sylva, NC on Saturday, May 6. You will find information about this conference at www.netwestwriters.blogspot.com  
This gathering is sponsored by the Jackson County Public Library and the NC Writers' Network-West. We will meet at the library in the old courthouse, a lovely place. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Self Pub, Traditional or Small Press?

Recently I spoke at a writers conference and the subject of how to publish is always the first thing novice authors ask. Which is best? Self-publish or go the traditional route?
In this article, Robert Brewer discusses the other alternative which I would recommend to anyone who has a manuscript ready to submit. Try a small press.

I like that a small press is not limited to a three month window for selling the book as are the major publishers. The process of marketing by a small press goes on and on, unlimited. Of course, the author has to be doing his part to promote the book as well.
Brewer says that when asked about the top advantage small presses offer to authors, Erika Goldman, publisher and editorial director of Bellevue Literary Press, says, “Tender, loving care.”




The book's cover and design is accomplished with the cooperation of the author and the small press.
“I work directly on each book, designing it along with the author to produce something that a reader will want to purchase, as well as an object that best fits how the author wants their writings to be displayed,” says Geoffrey Gatza, founder, editor and publisher of BlazeVOX [books].

Brewer's poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems was published by Press 53. When he visited and taught at Writers Circle last year, he spoke highly of his editor and all the folks at Press 53, a North Carolina company.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It is Never too Late to Change Your Life -


I was delighted when I learned that my essay for Robert Brewer's blog, My Name is not Bob, was posted today.     http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com/
I hope you will visit his site and read it. Even more satisfying than the honor of guest posting on Robert's very popular blog, the sincere comments by his readers touched my heart. 
My friend, Joan L. Cannon, also guest posted on Robert's blog on the subject of life changing moments.  Look for her essay while there.
Thanks, Robert, for posting my story and for all the help you give writers on your awesome blog.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Two Great Finds on the Internet

I feel I found the greatest treasures on the Internet when I found Hope Clark and Robert Brewer.
Reading Hope's newsletters and blog is like taking a writing course for free. It is the best time I spend online.
Now I have discovered Robert Brewer's blogs, I am taking another online course for free.

Congratulations to Hope who has just published her first novel, destined to be a terrific success. It sounds like a mystery/romance with a protagonist like no other. It is set in South Carolina where Hope lives. I will definitely buy her book.
Go to her new, very professional looking website www.chopeclark.com and read all about it.

You will find Robert Brewer, content editor for Writers Digest at http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com/.
Tonight, on his blog, I learned how to easily put a social media button on my blog. At least I hope I did.







Sunday, February 5, 2012

Scott Owens on blog by Robert Brewer, editor of Writers Digest

  Below is a link to an article by poet and editor, Scott Owens, and includes some of his poetry.
http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com/2012/01/bending-rules-or-poet-has-to-be-poet.html

If you are not familiar with Robert Brewer, he is editor at Writers Digest.


I subscribe to Writers Digest and to Writer Magazine. I enjoy the articles and find them useful for my classes with beginning writers and seniors who want to write about their lives.

Robert Brewer is from the Atlanta area and many of us enjoyed his workshop at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in 2011 in Blue Ridge, GA.