I’ve always loved to write. From poems to girlfriends in high school, to letters home when I was in service overseas, to postcards while traveling, to “shoot-em-up” fiction. But now I am learning how to write, and I love it even more. In addition to the insights and direction I’ve received my writing has developed a depth and voice, that I directly attribute to my participation in the Red Oak Roundtable.
How to begin to describe how wonderful Red Oak Writing Roundtables are? If you are serious about developing as a writer, you need many things — coaching, craft books, workshops, retreats, hard work with your butt in the chair, but among those things that you need most is a tribe. And if you sign up for a roundtable series of sessions, you’ve found one. Fellow writers who are supportive yet honest, friendly yet serious about the work. Great talented leaders in Robert and Kim, well worth the price of admission. Come join us!
How nice to receive this testimonial from Jonnie Guernsey in my inbox:
When I arrived at Red Oak for the first time, it was still called Redbird and the studio was on the third floor of the Marian Center. I was nervous as I read my piece that night (and, looking back, it was a terrible piece), but Robert Vaughn helped me feel comfortable and the other seasoned writers found ways to make some positive comments while giving me constructive ideas for rewrites. Over time, I grew more confident in both presenting my work, and in giving feedback to others. I am not trained in writing, but through the Roundtable, I have learned a great deal about how to develop a good story, writing believable dialog, creating interesting characters and description of scenes. I find that I learn as much from the feedback the other writers receive as I do when my own piece is being considered. I have gained the confidence to submit pieces, have won two writing contests (2nd place, but hey), and am presently writing a novel. I have said to Kim Suhr and many others that I’m grateful they didn’t simply throw me out the third floor window when I first arrived with painfully bad writing. Now I notice that my cohorts look forward to reading the next chapter of my book each time we meet. The Roundtables, group leaders and Saturday workshops have helped me live my dream of being a writer. If you’re ready to take your writing seriously, take advantage of this local gem.
I echo those who have affirmed the invaluable process of having a deadline and receiving helpful feedback. I have found it motivating and inspiring. The group brings many kinds of writing and varies in experience level, yet all are treated with respect for their work. The range of writing informs whatever you are writing. Those two and half hours bring focus to my writing and have taken me in unexpected places. I have learned so much about character development and point of view by writing it and hearing what worked and what did not. I am happier because of this creative outlet. Thanks Red Oak Writing!
After just one session of Roundtable meetings I already have valuable new perspectives and ideas for revision. I’ve also met interesting local writers who get it in terms of why a writing life matters so much, whether fiction or non-fiction, for publication or otherwise. I highly recommend Roundtables for anyone looking for creative support and useful feedback for their writing.
Our formula for roundtable is an involved, organic process that allows me as a writer to be completely present and in every moment. I get to bring in new, raw pages to the group, and receive such incredibly insightful feedback I am often completely blown away by the diversity of comments. I love the support I also get to offer to those in all the groups I am privileged to be a part of. The process has strengthened me as a writer, lifted me as a person, and I would not be the same Robert without Redbird- Redoak. It makes all things possible, dreams to materialize. Thanks is only just part of the deep gratitude that I feel.
My writing has benefited greatly through my participation in Red Oak Roundtables. I’m now prepared for the day when I submit something and the editor asks for a rewrite. I now know how to do that instead of just wasting my time, hating her for life.
Working with other writers from all walks of life has been such a wonderful experience. I am grateful for their input. The collaboration has enriched and improved my pieces in ways too numerous to list here- but I continue to be inspired and motivated by this group!
I have been a member of the Oconomowoc Roundtable Group for about 1 1/2 years. I had been experiencing a bad patch of “writing apathy” and needed a jump-start. The group gave me that, along with helpful critiques as well as friendship and the sharing of great writing. Now I am sad if I have to miss a session.
update: I just had a haiku published and I am anything but apathetic.
I love having a deadline and an audience. And when participants reflect back to me what they think my piece is about how my characters or word choices are coming off, then I see what I REALLY wrote. Critques are always in the spirit of “Here’s how I think you can make this good piece even better!” Great people to know and catch up with every two weeks!
I felt like a writer the first time I went to a roundtable! It seemed the only requirement was a desire to express myself in words – no one looked down on me as a beginner. For the first time, I began to complete work, instead of getting started and then stuck, either because I lost motivation or didn’t technically know how to get to the next step. This is such a supportive community – in it I feel the freedom to write anything, without worrying about what I “should” write. Redbird writers continue to inspire, surprise and motivate me, no matter the skill level or style, and that is truly a gift!
I have participated in the Oconomowoc roundtable for 3 years and have benefited greatly from it. The insights and critiques from Kim and the other participants have helped me to fine tune my work in many ways and have helped me with such nuts and bolts elements as point of view, voice, plot, etc. It’s fun to hear what the others are writing and to share our experiences with contests, conferences, publishing, etc. Everyone has been warm and friendly and open to new participants and to a variety of genres from essays and poetry to memoirs and novels. The roundtable keeps me writing and I look forward to it each time we meet.
Having regular deadlines, a diverse group of critical yet sympathetic readers, and a great facilitator has brought my writing to a new level; I learn something new every session. Everyone has a great time, yet we take these moments and each other’s work seriously. Thanks, Red Oak.
Looking forward to reading all the ways Roundtables have helped our writers. First time posters’ comments will be moderated before they appear. Thank you!
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