Here are four exciting benefits of attending a writer’s conference: 1) the energy of other people is infectious and you’re likely to get an enlivening boost of adrenalin; 2) it can remotivate you and rekindle your love for the page; 3) it can give you the opportunity to step out your work and receive feedback and enthusiastic recognition; and 4) it can broaden your writing horizons by sparking new ideas and avenues of discovery.
After a three-day immersive stint at an International Women’s Writing Guild, former journalist and Write Group member Josie Zeman returned energized and expanded. Of all the benefits she reaped, most valuable were the insights she gained from a workshop on food and writing.
What a fruitful, delectable topic! Taste comes before speech; along with smell, it’s the most primal of our senses. According to the workshop instructor, food has the power to capture both time and space. It can bring us “home” in a way that can enrich our writing, whether we’re penning a memoir or a novel. And here’s a fascinating formula the instructor offered — each character reflects the essence of four spices:
Salt: enhances flavor, stimulates the appetite, acts as a preservative;
Pepper: adds a kick; can reduce inflammation; makes you sneeze.
Nutmeg: sweet and pungent; apple pie, warm memories;
Cayenne: strong punch; clears congestion; healing heat; revs up metabolism
Think of these as personality traits that can “spice” up your story, perhaps in surprising ways: In the lives of your characters (or your own life) who adds salt, pepper, nutmeg or cayenne? Do some characters have odd, unexpected combinations? Something to ponder. Thanks, Josie, Write on!