I’m eager to apply what I learned at this year’s #SFWC18.
This was my 7th time in attendance, I believe, and each time I get something new and useful from the experience. My marching orders this time came from Dr. David Rasch, a psychologist. I attended two of his sessions, and he spoke about overcoming procrastination and dealing with criticism and rejection.
The single-best take-away was to prepare yourself up for success by setting the bar ridiculously low. Plan to write for only 5-15 minutes and then call it a day. You can always write for a longer stretch, but don’t be in too big a hurry to ratchet up your schedule. Get the writing habit firmly in hand.
I’ll be writing more about this over at www.ThinkingFunny.com. I just rebooted that, another inspiration from the conference. 🙂
Last week was the deadline for applications to present at the upcoming Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, April 5-7, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio.
I put a proposal together, and sent it in. I’ll keep you all posted on what happens. The idea I pitched, based on all the years of speech teaching and coaching, is that writers who can talk about their work before audiences stand a better chance of connecting with their ideal readers.
We’ll see if this is true! I picked this humor conference because, as you know, my favorite genre is humor.
Even though I’ve never had the chance to attend this workshop, I know a good deal about it. I’ve followed its activity for years now–it’s an every-other-year affair–and the slots sell out in a matter of days. I’ve bought the conference recordings and enjoyed them immensely.
I’m back in Grad School, seeking a second master’s degree, after a 30-year absence.
Man how things have changed.
Of course ,the biggest difference is in the tools I now have for researching and writing.
Back in 1986, when I started my first degree in speech communication, research was done in the library by going through the card catalog and magazine indexes. Quaint, isn’t it. And I wrote my graduate thesis in an Apple IIc. Years of hard word lived on a couple of floppy disks that looked like a pair of Goth-Inspired Hallmark cards to celebrate a total solar eclipse–dark, mysterious and ominous.
Now everything is backed up on an automatic hard-drive, in the cloud, and if I lose it all I can just ask Donald Trump or the Russian Embassy for another copy. Nice, I guess. The latest version of Word, not “Word Juggler,” allows me to do amazing things and have the results look better than they deserve.
But the best thing of all are the tools for more effective researching and cataloging of all the information I find. No longer do I have to lug around or shelve stacks of photocopies, I have many PDFs that are the fruits of searches in academic databases. Of course, Google is handy, especially Google Scholar. But all these tools mean that I now have way too much information.
I am happy owner of this software, and it allows me to download my library searches, have the citations correctly formatted–usually, you still have to double check them, and upload the PDFs and any notes I make all in one central–backed-up-in-the-cloud place.
It’s heaven. This is all te more sweet because, as I write, I can just click a button and insert a citation, and–get this–a bibliography is generated on the fly. Amazing.
I’ve long though about taking on a research project and aspiring to do the sort of cool things Malcom Gladwell does. But how, I wondered, would I ever keep it all straight?
Now I know–Endnotes.
So, you don’t have to be in grad school to tackle a book-length project, and buying your own copy isn’t horribly expensive, considering what Word costs.
And if you are strapped for cash, there is a sort-free alternative, Zotero, https://www.zotero.org/. It only starts costing you when your data files get over a certain length. I went with Endnotes because it seems to be the gold standard for many scholars. YMMV.
Just a quick update for my friends. I’m officially back in Grad school, studying event management through CSU Chico’s Recreation Administration program. It’s been almost a year since I decided to return to school, and it’s exciting to be sitting here in the “Grove” of Chico State’s Meriam Library. My classes begin next week, but I’m bopping around getting familiar with its resources.
I picked the events track because I wasn’t finding what I wanted in any MFA writing programs. As you can tell from my work, I’m passionate about comedy. I looked in vain for quite some time before deciding that there just was not the sort of program that valued humor writing (in all its various forms) and comedy enough to offer it the wide curriculum it deserves. Don’t get me wrong, there are many wonderful MFA programs, but not seem to care much about the humor or other genre-centric writing. I talked to one advisor and made it clear I would like to refine my writing in part to increase its commercial potential, and the expression on this woman’s face resembled that of my mother the time I tracked doggie-doo onto her new, green-shag carpeting.
On reflection, I decided that the most helpful thing for me to do was to continue attending writing workshops and conferences, and better yet, to get in the game of offering them.
That’s how I ended up back in school. My goal is to gather working or aspiring humor writers, stand-up comics, screenwriters, playwrights and improv artists so we can learn from one another. I’ll be writing about my efforts here and over at my other blog, www.thinkingfunny.com.
Please keep in touch and feel free to offer suggestions. I’m hoping that this journey will prove helpful and mostly fun. 🙂