Celebrating the Power of Revision

I’m super excited to be celebrating Emily and her writing journey today. She is one of our writers from the Writing Gym program. She’s currently writing a novel that is set in ancient Egypt during the New Kingdom period. 

“I’m an elementary school teacher and I had this vision two years ago to write a novel set in ancient Egypt because I studied and taught the theme,” Emily states, “and I have a real story to tell about the artist’s life in Egypt. What it’s like working on the temples, working on tombs and more. It was a very respected lifestyle and quite high up on the caste system in the dictatorship in Egypt.” 

Tackling middle-grade historical fiction is no small undertaking. So, kudos to Emily. 

I met Emily at a local bookstore where I was running a class with some local writers. “I was pretty much surprised, myself, that I went to your class,” Emily says in hindsight, “I really enjoyed it. It was at that point where I was trying to work up the courage to take writing more seriously. I immediately thought: ‘That’s someone who I could actually work with.’”

Emily, before we met, had already written and finished her longer story. She revised it a couple times but “it was in this sort of a standstill.” She wasn’t ready to submit and knew that she needed professional help with the submission process. 

“That’s what I thought it was kind of going for but then when I talked with Annalisa, being able to revise it and learn about writing has been the gift. She made that really clear when she described what the Publishing Mastermind was. That maybe the end result is getting published. But throughout it all you’re going to learn a lot. That’s what I’m celebrating.”

Once Emily and I started really digging into her manuscript, her energy was so high with so much to celebrate. I asked her what that moment was like. 

“During that writing period I used it to really understand techniques and learn other techniques and experiment with other techniques and know what’s out there and get to know others who I might not have otherwise looked into and read some different different styles of writing within my genre.

“It made me rethink my story and how my characters needed to be doing more and speaking more and interacting more. Sometimes it’s those character moments where one character is thinking one thing and the other character is also thinking something but they’re both saying something out loud. That has like a whole other form of communication that you can do in writing, but you can’t really do it in other forms of storytelling.” 

Emily also thinks that the inspiration that our Writing Gym community brings makes the experience so much more powerful.

“It’s really confidence-building. It makes me like writing more” 

One takeaway that stands out to her as a bigger celebration than others is that confidence-building: “Now I have the confidence to know that I can write a longer piece and have other projects as well.”

“Be alert to take risks. Know that there is potential out there.”

So, what is the Writing Gym? Why should you care about this? 

“Annalisa Parent is an incredibly professional who leads this inquiry-based study that is the Writing Gym. You, as the guide, ask the right questions to make you grow on your own.” 

Thank you so much, Emily. We appreciate you at the Writing Gym. 

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