Greatest Hits of 2012

Pencil on calendarWhen I started writing for the Confabulator Cafe in January of 2012, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d had my own website, my own blog, and I’d worked on several others as a contributing writer or editor. The Cafe, however, took me into experimental territory.

The idea for the Cafe was born out of the Lawrence writers group, specifically Sara Lundberg (our editor-in-chief and founder). She proposed a group blog where our collective writing experience could be shared with the world at large. It seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t know if nearly a dozen people could write each week on a single topic and not come off sounding derivative or repetitive.

I shouldn’t have worried. While we did have weeks where we seemed to be singing the same note across the board, we also had weeks where differing opinions created serious tension in the Cafe.

One week that immediately springs to mind is Write. Revise. Submit. Repeat. (Week Ending June 16). That week, the Cafe was abuzz with talk of getting published. I thought that week would be a pretty quiet week, with each contributor posting the same advice about always submitting work for publication. I assumed we — as writers — were all working toward this goal.

Little did I suspect this would be the hot-button topic to divide the group. While some in our group were clearly working toward publication and getting published, others seemed offended by the notion that writing must lead to publication.

While Jack, in his post “Submit or Perish,” set what I thought would be the tone for the week, Larry’s “Just Write, Damn It!” established the counterpoint. And I recognized that despite all our similarities, we were unique people who had different personal goals.

I wrote about my own journey to get published, offering advice based on my personal experience. I never suspected that there might be writers who were not interested in publication. And when Larry said as much, I told him I couldn’t see how someone could claim to be a writer and not want to publish.

When Ted unleashed his diatribe, “A Matter of Definition,” a couple of days later it helped separate the ideas of writing (whether for catharsis or sheer joy) and writing toward publication. But he also stirred up some ideas about critique and the writing process that helped fuel more debate.

Half a year into our bold experiment, it appeared our group blog might blow up. Tensions were high that week, but it clearly illustrated the need for multiple voices at the Cafe.

The heart and soul of the Cafe is to provide writers with advice from writers. No one person has all the answers, however. So by offering a number of voices on a given subject each week, the members of the Cafe hope we can provide some good information for any writer who comes looking for advice.

Ultimately, the point of the Cafe is to help writers grow in their craft. If we can do that, even infrequently, our effort is not wasted.

Kevin Wohler is a copywriter and novelist living in Lawrence, Kansas. During the day, he works at a digital marketing agency in the Kansas City area. When time remains, he likes to tell stories of the weird and bizarre. And sometimes, he writes them down for others to read.

2 Comments

1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.