The Writers’ League greatly appreciates the support of its community members. Every so often we give our Community Members the opportunity to write a guest blog post on Scribe. This week, we’re featuring The Writing Barn. Operated by Bethany Hegedus, (author of Between Us Baxters, Truth with a Capital T, and mostly recently, Grandfather Gandhi) The Writing Barn offers classes, retreats, and other literary events on a beautiful seven and a half wooded acre in Austin. Read the Q&A and guest blog post from The Writing Barn below to learn more.
Scribe: Can you describe The Writing Barn’s mission in a few sentences?
Bethany Hegedus: The Writing Barn works with writers and creatives “to deepen your process and perfect your craft” and the various spaces The Writing Barn, from the party porch to the cozy cabin, have a motto of their own: “Retreat. Create. Celebrate” as we host book launches, book-themed parties, private and group retreats as well as weekend intensives.
Scribe: The Writing Barn sits on a gorgeous piece of property–what came first, the idea or the space?
BH: The space came first. My husband has owned the property for many years, and when we began to get serious, we looked at the old horse barn together and decided to remodel it into my office. When I saw how large the space was and how useful, I knew it wasn’t just for me and The Writing Barn was born.
Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?
BH: Being a community member of the Writers’ League of Texas is an honor–and an accomplishment. When I first moved to Austin, I worked at the Writers’ League as the office manager, so I know the good work the league does first hand. As an author myself, it’s important for me to support nonprofits with creative missions and the Writers’ League has a long history in Texas of supporting those on the way to being published and those who have crossed that threshold.
Scribe: Tell us about “Write Away Day”?
BH: Write Away Days came about as we all need time, solitude, and community to get to the page. It’s a structured mini-retreat for yourself amid the hustle and bustle of work and family life. We open with goal setting for the day ahead where we talk a bit about our projects–if we’re revising, drafting, etc., and then write silently for 2 1/2 hours. Over a brown bag lunch, we gather and chat before settling in for a longer silent writing session of 3 to 4 hours. We close the day, everyone gathered back to together to share what we accomplished as well as to have a craft and process talk. Writers are also encouraged to go for walks, or to chat with other writers away from the Barn, where the silent writing is happening. The cost of these days is $15 and we provide coffee, water, and light snacks. We hope to do at least 1 week day and 1 weekend day per month.
When the Time is Write:
Attending a Week Long Intensive or Retreat
It’s hard enough to carve out the time for an afternoon or 6-week class, and harder still to think about devoting a full week to your writing craft. How do you know when the time is right? It is time to consider a week-long retreat or intensive when you are looking for valuable feedback, longing for community and new connections, and are interested in taking your craft to the next level. Other things to consider are venue, cost, faculty, and type of feedback you will receive when making your decision.
The Writing Barn has two great upcoming opportunities for those with a complete draft or at least up to 75 pages of a draft under their belt.
May 31 – June 6 is the Full Novel Revision Week featuring faculty Tim Wynne-Jones, Nicole Griffin and Joy Preble, teaching assistant Anne Bustard, and visiting authors Bethany Hegedus, Nikki Loftin and Brian Yansky. This workshop is open to middle grade novels, young adult novels or chapter books. Novels may be fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, historical, etc.
This week-long event features a full read and critique of your manuscript before arrival. During the week, you will meet one-on-one with your faculty mentor to develop a revision plan and to discuss feedback. You will attend quality lectures on a variety of craft topics and have revision time each day to capture any and all new ideas and begin to do the re-envisioning work ahead.
November 8 -14 is the debut of The Writing Barn’s newest programming, A Week in Residency With… This November we will feature critically acclaimed author and renowned writing teacher Nova Ren Suma, whose latest title The Walls Around Us is racking up the starred reviews. This workshop is designed for serious YA or MG writers of any genre with at least 75 pages of a work in progress. Come prepared to receive helpful feedback in group critique sessions, one-on-one meetings with Nova, and afternoon writing prompts to spark inspiration. Discussion on craft issues, outlining, plotting, and other helpful tools will be covered by Nova.
Both of these weeklong events are open to Austinites and out-of-towners alike. Lodging is available and on site vegetarian meals are offered for breakfasts and lunches. Attendees and faculty dine out in the evenings. Attendees may write indoors or out, taking a stroll around the 7.5-acre grounds (visited regularly by families of deer), or write on the Barn’s screened-in party porch. Anyone interested is encouraged to visit The Writing Barn website for pricing and more information on applying.
To see a full list of Community Members and learn more about becoming one, click here.