There are only a handful of moments in life that define you, that you remember vividly years later. When you say, “Yep, that was when it happened.” One of those moments came when I finally decided to take a writing class from Margie Lawson.
I had first heard about her on the RWA Yahoo loops I’d been using for critique, in a comment directed at another author. “You would benefit from a Margie Lawson class.” Which broke down into a discussion of who Margie was and what she did, which disintegrated into a love fest. It was the kind of devotion I’d only seen before in religious zealots or newly, reformed ex-smokers.
Curious, I looked up her stuff online. She wasn’t writer turned teacher but a psychologist turned writing teacher which intrigued me more. After watching Margie’s graduate blog post, the number of published author who listed her as a mentor, the boatload of contest winners who gave her credit, the crazy amount of NYT best sellers who used her techniques, drew me to explore farther. I circled her online for months not wanting to commit cash (wasting money to me is akin to spilling life’ s blood, so I hesitated). I scoured the internet for references and found pages, upon pages of glittering recommendations.
I finally caved and tried the first class. In that moment, I knew. This is what my writing was missing. (I also met the one and only, super awesome Tina Gower in that class but that’s another story).
Some of the techniques where things I’d never heard of or tried, some I was familiar with, but the key for my learning was the assessable way the ideas were presented with examples. When I applied the ideas to my work the results proved astounding. Critique groups gave me positive feedback. I finaled in my first contest. I saw, at last, what was wrong with my writing, and used Margie’s toolbox to fit the problems. I was hooked.
And like a good junkie, I soon soaked up every class she had to offer except the big one—Immersion. This is the mecca of Margie’s classes which she usually teaches in her Colorado mountain home. I worked my budget, I tried to find transportation, I crunched the numbers and considered not eating for a few weeks in order to subsidize, but I could find no way to get to the mountain.
One night I was stalking the Immersion page on Margie’s site, trying to come up a with a plan, and some magic happened. Margie was scheduled to do Immersions offsite and one happened to be in Ohio within easy driving distance. After doing a long and enthusiastic Snoopy happy dance across my living room, I claimed a spot and waited, edited, and reviewed my material. That was five months ago. I go to the Immersion in less a week and I’m beyond excited and open and willing to absorb all the great teaching she can impart during my four days. I am not only geeked to see Margie but to meet my classmates who must be equally obsessed with perfecting their writing and perusing a writing career.
I feel this conference will be another huge step into the direction of publication, whether it be with a trad publisher or indie. I know with a fabulous mentor and wonderful support, this will be one of those moments that I look back on in ten years and say. Yes, that was it. The moment that changed it all. I will be reporting back with an afterglow blog post.
Please comment if you have had an aha moment in writing or life, a positive turning point, or just say hello.