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I know there are others who will blog more eloquently and completely about the Fly-By Writer’s weekend with Lauren Groff (see Allison Barker’s excellent post), but I’m fresh off her last workshop and I feel compelled to share the one thing I hope to keep with me for the rest of my writing life.
That’s it. If you missed the workshops and the Utopian Feast at Lighthouse, you missed an amazing weekend. Groff’s writing is stunning and amusing, brilliant and thoughtful. Groff’s writing is Groff personified.
Throughout the course of two workshops and following the reading of one of her masterful stories by the talented Martha Harmon Pardee of Stories on Stage, Groff managed to convey unbridled joy about books and writing and even revising. One of the first thing she said, smiling all the while, was that she’d written three novels that were utter failures before she managed to finally write one that would be published.
She said the following sentence more times than I can count: “I love that book so much.” She said it about classics and short story collections and post-modern novels and poetry. I never doubted her sincerity.
Lauren Groff is in love with writing and reading and talking about both. It’s refreshing. Heaven knows you could toss a rock in any direction and hit a depressed writer. But an optimistic, joyful writer? Those seem rare. Groff is the best kind of optimist. She knows that writing is hard work. She knows that she will spend at least four years working on any novel. She knows that she will do a ton of research, much of which she’ll never use. She knows she will write numerous drafts, some of which she’ll never read again. She’s fine with all of that. She’s a realistic optimist.
This sort of pragmatic but sunny approach to writing is one I hope to emulate. As I move forward on yet another draft of my own novel, I’m going to try to keep Groff’s advice in my head. “Writing is a joyful process,” she said. She’s right.
We need to embrace the joy.