Posted in Classes, Writing

Write-O-Rama: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Me

In my earlier blog post, Write-O-Rama: Tasting Menu of Writing Classes, I wrote about all the sample classes I planned on taking at Hugo House. They released the schedule, and my plans changed a bit.

Below are the classes I attended with a recap of what I learned and/or my impressions:

Hour 1: Writing Your Inner Feral Child with Deborah Woodard

“We’ll touch upon Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the mysterious Kaspar Hauser, a legendary feral child who has inspired books and films. Then, we’ll explore a feral child alter ego. Appropriate for all genres.”

None of the classes I wanted were available during the first hour. Of my choices, this class seemed like the best one. While I’m sure the class helped other writers, I was not one of them. A little too out there for me. She had us drawing to get in touch with our inner feral child. On the plus side, she was one of two people who referenced Frankenstein a week, so I’m re-reading Mary Shelley’s classic now.

Hour 2: From History to Story with Susan Meyers

“You’ve got a life story to tell, but how can you turn “history” into a “story”? What should you include? And what should you leave out? Come spend an hour digging into your life—and finding out!”

I would take a class with Susan Meyers. Her style was engaging, and her topic packed the room. She asked great questions, and people told stories. She focused on techniques found in the book The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick, which I liked the idea of the book better than the book itself. A far better book to read on the subject is The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr.

Hour 3: Getting Unstuck with Joshua Marie Wilkinson

“Twenty-six hands-on methods to get your writing unblocked and flowing again.”

His enthusiasm didn’t quite match the subject matter, but he seemed like a nice guy. I ended up talking to him after class. He worked on some films made in Dublin. I asked if he knew of my mentor in college, Bob Enrietto, who helped set up the Dublin film commission. He had not, but I mentioned he was also known for punching out Don Bluth and he had heard that story.

Hour 4: Unleashing the Healing Power of Personal Storytelling with Ingrid Ricks

“In this hands-on mini-workshop, NYT bestselling author Ingrid Ricks shares her own healing and empowerment journey and writing lessons learned to help you unleash the power of personal narrative for yourself. Includes tips to identify and structure your story and two narrative writing exercises to help you bring your story to life.”

Intense and emotional best describes this class. If I planned on writing a memoir filled with complicated emotions, Ingrid would be a great mentor. The advice I took from her involved using more senses when describing scenes; smells, tastes, textures, etc. A great way to emphasize “show don’t tell” style when writing.

Hour 5: Write for Publications & Pay with Lora Shinn

“A quick intro to the world of paid freelance writing, and how you can get started – even if you’re an absolute beginner.”

This was hands down the best class. I’m planning on signing up for Lora’s five-week course which starts at the end of February. She provided stellar advice, great stories, and total genuine enthusiasm on the subject. I’m looking forward to the class and feel like we could chat for hours.

The whole day was worth the price of admission. I walked away armed with advice, ideas, and energy to write more. While the scheduling didn’t live up to my hopes and plans, I would attend this event next year.

Posted in Classes, Writing

Write-O-Rama: Tasting Menu of Writing Classes

One wintry Saturday, I will head to Hugo House for the first time.

Hugo House is a place where you can read words, hear words, and make your own words better. Hugo House is a place for writers, with a concentrated focus on helping anyone who wants to write. We offer readings, classes, book launches, workshops, teen programs, consultations with professional writers, and much more.

Source: https://hugohouse.org/about

Hugo House hosts an event called “Write-O-Rama” where you can pick and choose from a list and attend any five classes of your choosing. Five whole classes! Doors open at Noon for registration since you can’t make your picks in advance. Each class lasts about 50 minutes giving everyone 10 minutes to scamper to the next class.

The event allows students to gain insight into courses Hugo House offers and a way to meet the instructors. Since this will be my first experience with this writing school, I love they offer a tasting menu or a speed date before you make any commitment on a piece of meat…err…class.

Top Five Reasons I’m Excited:

  1. I miss taking actual classes. Online classes are not the same.
  2. New people to meet outside of my usual social circles (or to be fair, it’s just one circle)
  3. Knowledge!
  4. This will help with goal setting for the new year.
  5. I need structure and hard deadlines. I blame Catholic school.

I chose six courses on the off chance one fills up or there’s a scheduling conflict. I’m all about having back up and contingency plans. Here’s the link to the full list.

My Six Selections (descriptions from the website):

  1. From History to Story with Susan Meyers: You’ve got a life story to tell, but how can you turn “history” into a “story”? What should you include? And what should you leave out? Come spend an hour digging into your life—and finding out!
  2. The Writing Life with Nicholas O’Connell: In her essay collection, Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor talks about writing as a habit of art that relies as much on regular practice as on inspiration. While inspiration plays a part in any literary breakthrough, the habit of art gives concrete expression to inspiration, making the poem, story or book possible. This class will provide practical tips about how to develop your own habit of art.
  3. Your First Pages with Joe Ponepinto: Nothing is more critical to publishing success than having a compelling opening for your story. If your first pages don’t grab a reader, an agent, or a publisher, they’ll go on to the next submission. This session will help writers understand how to craft effective openings that keep readers engaged.
  4. Unleashing the Healing Power of Personal Storytelling with Ingrid Ricks: In this hands-on mini-workshop, NYT bestselling author Ingrid Ricks shares her own healing and empowerment journey and writing lessons learned to help you unleash the power of personal narrative for yourself. Includes tips to identify and structure your story and two narrative writing exercises to help you bring your story to life.
  5. Write for Publications & Pay with Lora Shinn: A quick intro to the world of paid freelance writing, and how you can get started – even if you’re an absolute beginner.
  6. Getting Unstuck with Joshua Marie Wilkinson: Twenty-six hands-on methods to get your writing unblocked and flowing again.

Great. Now you’re excited. I knew this would happen. I swear on my pretty floral bonnet to report back on every class I attend so you know if our joy was justified or not. Have a mentioned that this is exciting? Did I tell you I mentally packed my backpack and have a shiny new notebook ready to go?

Posted in Introductions

Expectations of a Blog


Welcome to my little section of the internet. Make yourself at home.

I recently attended a class called “Writing for Procrastinators” as part of a Seattle Public Library series called “Seattle Writes: Writing Workshops. ” Beth Slattery, a Hugo House instructor, taught the two-hour workshop which I found extremely helpful. One lesson I walked away with was a need to have a place I could write without putting too much pressure on myself.

I’m a Type A personality who over-researches and over-plans things. This blog is about loosening up and not overthinking everything. I let myself worry for an hour about what to call this blog. The name could set the tone in the wrong direction. I decided to lean into the fear and go with “A Badly Named Blog.”

My other blog, The Questing Geek, has a singular focus revolving around my love of entertainment. While movies, television, and books are a large part of my life, I have many other topics I would like to discuss. Instead of trying to section them into different areas, I decided to have a personal blog. I plan to keep the entertainment portions on the other blog.

At this point, there are no guarantees of what I’m going to write about or how frequently I post. Check out my other blog if you want a sense of my formal writing style. Feel free to comment, share, or like as needed.