My Article with the St. Albert Gazette

PEN MEETS PAPER – Natasha Deen, the first writer-in-residence at the St. Albert Public Library, is just wrapping up her four-month stint. CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

PEN MEETS PAPER – Natasha Deen, the first writer-in-residence at the St. Albert Public Library, is just wrapping up her four-month stint.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

Writer-in-residence reaches ‘The End’ ~ Scott Hayes

It’s been a good run, says Natasha Deen. The first writer-in-residence at the St. Albert Public Library is just wrapping up her four-month stint, helping local residents to put pen to paper in varied, fun and meaningful ways.

The author-slash-mentor was aghast that the time has gone so fast.

“Can you believe it?” she exclaimed.

“April has been so bittersweet because on the one hand, I’m really excited to go to Sherwood Park and get a chance to redo my sessions and meet new authors. On the other hand, it’s going to be sad not having an office in the library any more.”

As she prepares to wrap up her time here, she is simultaneously gearing up to take on writers with the Strathcona County Library at 401 Festival Lane in Sherwood Park.

She said that her experience with writers here has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

“I’ve been so impressed with the level of talent and creativity. The depth and the breadth and the scope of stories,” she began, mentioning that she has seen everything from memoirs and fan fiction to young adult, fantasy, horror and everything in between. Some of what she read also tackled difficult subjects.

“It’s just been incredible, the amount of skill that St. Albert writers have. Also, just the courage in coming and sitting down. It’s disconcerting to take your pages to somebody and say, ‘Okay, read this and tell me what I’m doing wrong’ or ‘tell me how to make it better.’ I’m impressed with the level of emotional courage.”

For the rest of the article, head here.

And Suddenly

You’re sitting in a room with a bunch of writers from different backgrounds and lifestyles, talking about characters & plot…and everything falls away–the problems with your current manuscript, the stuff with the car, the messy office–and it hits all over again, as great as the first time, as sweet as the last time: You have the best job in the world.

How Other Writers Roll

The visit with Conni Massing & Curtis Gillespie on Saturday was amazing! Lots of information and  a ton of laughs!!

I thought other writers might be interested in some of the things they said about their process (right? The best way to learn you process is to hear about someone else’s…)

1) The question of paper or computer to draft their work.

Both Conni & Curtis use each method. Conni talked about the “moment” when an idea is worthy of its own journal, scribbling notes and lines between the pages, and then when the writing formally begins, to use her computer.

Curtis is a big computer guy (says he can barely read his hand writing) but for him, the paper stuff is a work in slowing down and being aware of what he’s doing.

2) How long does it take to come up with a draft of their work?

Conni’s average was 2-3 years, Curtis’ was 2-5 years.

3) How do they make time for their writing?

Conni: Writes first thing in the morning and does NOTHING else until she’s got her work in.

Curtis: Said it wasn’t about finding time because there’s always time. It’s about being disciplined to actually do it (which he is).