On the second Monday of every month, the Houston Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers Monthly Meetup takes place at Theo’s Restaurant on Westheimer downtown. Last night I had the supreme pleasure of attending my third meeting.
I learned about the ten-year-old group during several of the writers’ panels at Comicpalooza back in May; many of the panelists are members of the group. Writing can be a solitary exercise and it’s fantastic to get out of the house and hang out with writers in my chosen genre. Each meeting is led by Keri, the group’s organizer. She chooses a general topic of discussion as well as a writing exercise prompt. I have not yet participated in the writing exercise, but I will be next month.
Last night’s meeting format was different than the previous two that I’d been to. According to Keri, the changes were made at the behest of several members to accommodate an ever-growing attendance. Whereas the previous months found us in a back room at Theo’s seated around a great many tables lined up in an “L” formation, last night the room was arranged in small groups. Each small group consisted of around half a dozen people. We talked amongst ourselves for fifty minutes or so, then Keri turned the proceedings over to Dominick D’Aunno for the next twenty. He led the whole-room discussion based on what each small group had come up with.
The topic was “Maintaining your motivation: how do you keep going for the long haul? What inspires you? What discipline do you follow, or tricks do you play on your brain, to get the work done?”
Overall, the new format was a great improvement over the previous, I feel. The room did get rather loud at times, but that will happen with 39 people in close quarters. The information and inspiration were invaluable to me, and I tried my best to offer a few viewpoints of my own.
I find music to be a great help in focusing my attention on writing; without focus, motivation is of little consequence. I’m a Spotify user, which makes playlist management and artist discovery really easy. One of the most fun aspects of Spotify is the sharing of playlists. If you’re not a Spotify user yet, click my link here to create an account (it’s free). Once you’re signed up and you’ve got Spotify installed, check out my playlist, “Instrumentals While I Work”.
Next week’s topic is “Setting the scene, finding the right words. How do you use the language of your particular story (or POV character) to create the world in which it takes place? How do word choices impact the story, the genre, the characterization?” I love language, though that may not always be apparent in the style in which I choose to blog. I’m already counting the days.
In addition to the regular monthly meeting, writing workshops are being scheduled. The next one, September 29th, is closely related to the topic of the regular meeting: language. The workshop for October will cover editing. These sound great, and I’ve already RSVP’ed for the first.
The meetup is a bit of a drive for me, but absolutely worthwhile.