Robin Queen Event

Yesterday I attended the Writer to Writer event featuring Robin Queen. Going into the event, I wasn’t expecting to have so much in common with a woman who has written an entire book. I wrote her off in my head (pun intended) as an academic and therefor someone who I would not identify with in any way, shape, or form. Her advise about writing would not relate to the type of writing I do or will be doing in the future. She would just be different.

I was wrong. I was so pleasantly surprised at how many times I found myself saying “omg SAME” in my head.

The time this happened was early on in the event. When discussing her early years as a writer, she said one thing she found out early in her writing career was that it “usually looked more brilliant in my head than it did on paper”. That is when I began to engage more closely. I was hooked. I struggle with this often so it was great to hear that even successful professional writers experience this too. I often some great ideas that truly excite me, but then on paper those ideas fall flat. Everything thing changes once you try to piece things together on a page. That is where the brilliance can often become more mundane. It takes working through it many times to get it how you imagined in your head.

That leads me into the second thing she said that resonated with me. The interviewer asked Robin what her favorite thing to is to write, and she replied “a piece that is finished”. Of course, she laughed it of as a joke and gave another answer but her original answer was spot on. Honestly, I feel like I am so focused on making deadlines and just getting things done. It’s not healthy for my writing. I should be writing to write, not to be finished. It will be really interesting to see how my writing changes when I am no longer in school!

Lastly, another piece of advice she gave that I think is really valuable was that being frustrated is not going to you get your writing done. Her struggles with distractions and focus were spot on and very relatable. She noted that you have to control your emotions. I felt this was particularly important for me to keep in mind with my project right now. When I am frustrated I usually just shy away from it, and that isn’t helping the situation at all. I need to stay focused and positive to work through frustrations I may have. The final push is upon us all!

One thought to “Robin Queen Event”

  1. Hey Carlina,

    Thought I’d just add on to your post about this event instead of writing my own new one…
    I also was not expecting too much out of this event. To be honest, I was expecting simply to sit through the event and learn a little about this woman and her work, and then use it as the Major/Minor assignment I had counted on it for. But I too was happily surprised when I realized that this woman was much more relatable than I could have ever imagined.
    To begin, she spoke of what she believes writing to be: “Interacting with people.” I think this speaks very loudly to how she writes and her process in itself (which I will speak to more later in this post). She said that while writing her new book she needed to first think of who she was writing to (her audience) and that was going to shape/frame how she was going to write the book itself. This is something I COMPLETELY relate to – obviously there is a difference between writing academic and creative pieces, but even in those disciplines there can be huge differences when it comes to a change in an audience. Like she said, writing is all about interacting with people, and you first need to decide what people you want to interact with.
    I thought she was hilarious. Specifically, when she said her favorite piece of writing is often the one that just gets finished, I was thinking YES – that is so true. I think, again, this speaks to a much deeper element of writing. The reason one piece may get finished as opposed to a different piece, at least when it comes to my mind and process, is due to the amount of passion and interest I have about the piece. So it does not surprise me at all that her favorite ones are the ones that are complete – it was just refreshing to hear a published author be so honest with students.
    Now that I have brought up her “process” I would love to say that her process made me feel like my process was not as crazy as I once felt. She made me feel slightly more normal, and almost gave me inspiration to continue writing (that sounded corny, sorry) or find new ways to beat the writer’s block (like her writing sessions at 5 AM). I felt the fact that she uses the app that does not allow her to stop typing to be hilariously incredible. Because, in reality, just typing, and getting down something – some words of some sort is better than nothing. And on top of that (this goes back to her honesty) that fact that she read an excerpt of her first draft, and then allowed us to compare that to her final draft was so interesting. It showed the growth one piece can and does go through – and even professional writers start with kinda crazy first drafts and move there way up through the drafting process.
    In general, I completely agree with what you have posted. I thought this talk was very inspiring and slightly necessary (now that we are in the crunch time of our own writing projects). I highly suggest others go see her talks/get to know her process.

    Mollie

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