I first met Devon during one of the early Muse Online Writers Conferences. Her workshop was thought-provoking, hard work, and immensely satisfying to get through. Since then, I’ve taken several more from her at Savvy Authors (another terrific site), as well as the Muse Conference.
Her depth of knowledge, focus, humor, and structure, all forced me to stretch and go further than I expected I could. I’m so delighted that Devon is back at the Muse Conference this year. Below is a post she wrote, and is included here with her permission.
The Poetic Muselings are presenting a workshop at the Muse Conference, too, “Poetry — Not Just for Writing Verse”. What I learned with Devon over the years influenced the way I look at writing in all genres. I’ve merged the poetic approach in novels, non-fiction, script writing, and even blog posts.
Join us at the Muse Online Writers Conference — but hurry — registation ends on Sept 30!
Later this week, we’ll tell you about our Poetic Museling workshop. But now, here’s Devon.
The Muse and I
by Devon Ellington
The actual Muse and I have an on-again/off-again relationship that doesn’t change the fact that I need to get my butt into the chair every damn day and work, whether I feel like it or not. In fact, it’s MORE imperative to get butt in chair on the days you don’t feel like it, and often, your best work comes out of the toughest days.
You only want to write when you feel like it? Nice to have that luxury. Some of us have to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. With our pens and our keyboards. If you only want to write “when the Muse strikes” (and sometimes she uses a frying pan or a brick), good for you. Skip my classes, though, because I’m not the right teacher for you.
Sometimes my Muse is male, and sometimes female. The energy takes on whatever attributes necessary to get the job done. Sometimes I have the Nick and Nora Charles pair of Muses lounging behind my chair, swilling martinis and making sarcastic comments as I slave away over my words.
That’s okay, as long as it gets done.
As far as the Muse Online Conference, let’s see, how many years have I been here? I know I did six consecutive years, and then I had to skip one — I think it was last year. I may have had to skip another one at some point because of chaos going on in life, and when chaos happens, it’s not the writing that gets put aside, but everything else.
There are many great things about the Muse Online Writers Conference. The sheer volume of participants and the joy they bring to the process is wonderful. It’s a great way to dip one’s toe into a lot of different ways to work, and find techniques to add to your toolbox. It’s a great place to develop new ideas — I’ve developed several novels during the Muse Conference. If you do Nano, it’s a great place to prep for Nano. As a teacher, it’s a great place to try out new class ideas. A lot of places want the same kind of classes — at Muse, teachers can stretch and try new ideas. And those unique-type classes are often the ones that are the most needed by the writers. It’s a place to find your peers. The group of people you start with will be the group you rise with as you progress in your writing life — your support system, your Trusted Readers, the shoulders to cry on after a tough day or a disappointment. What better place to find them than in an intoxicating environment of writing pleasure?
But you can’t find that if you don’t attend. I hope to see you there, whether you choose to spend time in my three day Supporting Characters Workshop, where you learn how to create a good ensemble around your protagonist and antagonist without letting them run away with the book — or if we’re both students together in one of the other workshops. A huge part of good writing is good listening — and some of the best listening opportunities happen at conferences!
–Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, publishing under half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction. Her paranormal romantic suspense novel, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (as Annabel Aidan) is available in print and online from Champagne Books. Solstice Publishing has the Jain Lazarus Adventures, with HEX BREAKER out now, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK coming out later this week, and CRAVE THE HUNT sent to the publisher just before this conference. Her story “Sea Diamond” featuring the take-no-prisoners Fiona Steele appears in the upcoming DEATH SPARKLES anthology, and her plays are produced in New York, Cape Cod, London, Edinburgh, and Australia.