It’s been a week since I came home from the OYAN Winter Workshop, a workshop for older students who have taken the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. It was a wonderful week filled with God moments, joy, and memories. This year’s theme was One Small Step.
“When I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.” Alan Shepherd
Memory #1 My Critique Group
Guys, I had a fabulous critique group this year with some pretty amazing stories, from a Snow White retelling to werewolves (don’t let that scare you). Every day had us laughing, wiping tears from our eyes and screaming “no” at the top of our lungs. There are pretty amazing writers in the OYAN community and the future of literature looks promising. 😊
My own work has improved in that I was able to deceive them, give them feels, and sink their ship. I feel immensely happy — my writing has improved to be able to lead readers astray down dark forest paths.
** cue evil laughter**
Memory #2 Being with Young Adult Writers
Writing as a young adult is hard with so many responsibilities. At the Winter Workshop, there are other young adult writers in the same boat. There, we come together in solidarity, talk about our stories, and even do some brainstorming. A bonus at this Winter Workshop was we had an hour of undisturbed writing every day, and it was so nice to be able to get back into my story world.
Memory #3 Sour Patch Kids and Tea
One of my lovely friends brought sour patch kids and tea for us during our writing sessions and it was literally the best thing ever. #writerfuel
Memory #4 The Snow
On the 31st, we had a snow fall. One minute we were quietly writing, till someone said it was snowing. Then doors were thrown open and we stood outside in the snow, wet, cold, and laughing. This southern girl was happy.
Memory #5 Friends
This Winter Workshop, I was able to grow closer to old friends, and make some new ones. Friends are precious things. They are there to help you through a rough time, talk with you, lift you up. After going years with not having any, I treasure those that I have made through OYAN.
Memory #6 Lack of Sleep
The latest I ever made it was 2:00. Who can go to bed when there is so much to talk about? Tribbles. Star Wars. Star Trek. Home states. Very badly written fan fiction that has you holding your sides aching with laughter. There is no shortage of laughter at the Winter Workshop.
Memory #7 My Mentor Session with Stephanie Morrill
I knew I shouldn’t have been terrified, I know Stephanie.
But I was.
Anytime someone reads my writing I break out in hives. But it was honestly the best 30 minutes ever. She loved my story, and I was able to brainstorm that dreaded ending with her.
Selfie with Stephanie Morrill after many failed attempts.
Memory #8 The Sessions
Not only does Winter Workshop have adventures with friends, but it also has some amazing sessions.
Mr. S talked about story beats, great questions of genre, and who’s telling your story. Jenn Bailey spoke on worldbuilding and magic systems. And Stephanie Morrill taught us about all the little things. I love to color code my notes but it’s very hard when you’re furiously scribbling down all the things. So many notes.
Memory #9 God Mourns with us, and Wants Us to Invite Him into Our Mourning.
Mrs. S, a member of the OYAN and our beloved matriarch spoke on this. Never have I ever thought of God in this way. 2018 was a year of loss for me. Of health. Joy. Friendships. And while I knew God was there, and there was a reason for all of this, it never resonated with me that He would be in the same room with me, mourning with me. This may be the lesson that I take and hold the most through 2019.
2019 is a new year. A year of new opportunities. New people to meet. And new challenges. But this year I’m going to take it on one small step at a time. With God. With my friends. My family.
And the new year doesn’t seem so challenging from that point of view.