Simple Lessons from the LLF Emerging Writer’s Workshop

Everett Maroon and Chip Delany

  1. Skip the processed carbs. They don’t give you real energy and they don’t make your writing better.
  2. Smile and say hello to everyone, especially for the first couple of days, while we’re all still a bundle of nerves.
  3. Ignore your rule about talking next to someone smoking and go do it. Smokers, skip a cig here and there to continue a great conversation that happens to be inside.
  4. There is always time for karaoke.
  5. Linger at the dining hall. The stories more than make up for the quality of the food.
  6. Listen more than talk. This is your chance to learn from other extremely observant people.
  7. Take pictures with the people there, just in case you someday start telling yourself that it didn’t really happen.
  8. Go ahead and drink or stay up too late, but maybe not every night.
  9. Sneaking off campus is a great way to recharge. Staying on campus is a great way to immerse yourself in your work. There’s probably a balance in there somewhere.
  10. Thank people for their generosity in giving you their time, their comments, their experiences, their support. It took a lot for every person to get here and carve out a week of their lives.
  11. Make your criticism of people’s words be entirely about their writing, and zero about yours.
  12. Bringing a French press was a great idea. Not having a convenient place to store milk was less great.
  13. Canvas the campus for good writing spots on the first day, and use them.
  14. When you run into someone from the workshop at the airport on the way home, hug them at least four times.
  15. Find real, sustainable ways to keep in touch.
  16. Make this one week the start of a lifetime of critical support and community.
  17. Know when to stop writing any given sentence, even as you commit to writing for a lifetime.
  18. Even bad coffee works.
  19. Read work by people who write very differently than you, at least as often as you read work that you aspire to.
  20. One week is too long to go without nail clippers.
  21. Yes, you have to get the nail clippers even if you dropped them in the toilet.
  22. Try not to pine away for your loved ones at home, but give them a very warm welcome when you see them again. They helped get you here.
  23. Listen to your elders in the writing world, and let them go when they seem tired of talking.
  24. Always be ready to break into another rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
  25. It’s always okay to squeal in delight when someone you like gets up to read or walks in the room.
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4 Comments on “Simple Lessons from the LLF Emerging Writer’s Workshop”

  1. August 5, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    lovely advice.

    • evmaroon
      August 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      Thanks! I mean, others should feel to add to the list.

  2. irishup
    August 6, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing your LLF experience here, Ev. I really get a lot out of it every time you choose to write about your craft.

    • evmaroon
      August 6, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      Thank you so much! I’ll probably have another post about it soon. Still getting up to speed back at home/work.

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