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No Such Thing as Writers Block at the Maui Writers Conference
“Why can’t we grab the little buggers and PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE?”
Bryce Courtenay, author of the New York Times number one bestseller The Power of One and featured speaker at the “Gala Opening Ceremony” of the Maui Writer’s Conference, eloquently articulated the frustration that many writers succumb to when faced with a severe case of writers block. He lamented the elusive nature of words—quaintly nicknamed “little buggers”—that so many writers struggle with. The crowd of nearly a thousand chuckled in agreement at Courtenay’s candid opening statement.
Upon taking the GRE earlier that day where I had nothing but “little buggers” swimming before my eyes, I too could attest the need to punch every 4-syllable word square in the face. Yet, after spending my Labor Day weekend with writers from all over the country, I could not help but feel a renewed sense of veneration for the words authors use to create, teach, and inspire readers. It was time for me to put down my fists, make connections, and pick up that pen.
As an out-of-breath Courtenay began to close his speech, writers sat at the edge of their seats, eager for the events ahead. To a hushed crowd, Courtenay whispered, “So you want to be a writer? Okay kids, put on your seatbelt.” With a final laudatory applause, the Maui Writer’s Conference kicked off for a weekend of “de-buggering.”
The next morning, the Ala Moana Hotel drew a flood of anxious writers. Some patiently waited in the hotel’s lobby for the next inspirationally informative workshop to begin, while others sat thumbing their pens as they anticipated a consultation with a high-end publisher. As for myself, I sat amongst the crowd awaiting John Soriano’s workshop called, “An Analysis of a Story: Story Analysis as a Writing Technique”.
Soriano promptly shared the utmost practical advice to his inquisitive audience of aspiring screenwriters. “Get a good handle on what you want to accomplish…Pitch your story in one single sentence…Writing is a way to feed your soul, it’s not a way to make profits.”
However, Sam Horn the originator of the IDEApreneuer Process, felt otherwise. Horn focused her six-session workshop series on teaching entrepreneurs how to “develop and monetize equity ideas through speaking, consulting, and using the media.” When she spoke, she commanded her crowd. Listeners, including myself, left feeling a nascent motivation to “get the ideas out of our heads, share them with the rest of the world, and make a profit while doing it”.
Sunday was met with as much enthusiasm as the day before—with the addition of a few sets of baggy eyes from the previous night’s excitement at Waikiki’s Sunset on the Beach hosted by the conference. That afternoon consisted of a continuation on the IDEApreneuer workshops and a session on the infamous writers block.
John Lescroact, author of nineteen hit novels, led the session on writers block. With nineteen novels, Lescroart confidently demonstrated his prolific ability to conquer any evanescent moment of writer’s block. He simply said to “write like every sentence you put down is the best work you’ve ever done. Editing comes later. Get into genius mode now.” Basically, don’t think; write.
The sun’s neon glow sinking below the leeward horizon indicated the conference’s upcoming closure. Chris Pinney from Schulemburg, Texas took a moment to reflect on his weekend conference, “It has been fantastic. I met some great people and got some good advice. Being around successful writers brings motivation and brings relief as to knowing these writers are just like you.”
I could not agree with him more.
Mylen Yamamoto is a senior at California State University, Los Angeles anticipating graduation this fall in communications. She plans to further her education at UC Davis with an M.A. in interpersonal communications. In her free time, Mylen loves to read and sing with friends to the latest Broadway hits.