I’ve been part of Viva Scriva for seven years, and I’ve learned and received so much from them, individually and collectively.
Inspiration, and a demonstration of the value of Perspiration.
One time we were talking frankly about envy. I had to say that, interestingly, I wasn’t jealous of different members’ success, because, “If I’d worked as hard, I’d be further along too.”
Writing. Submitting. Revising. Revising. Repeating. Sending off to agents or publishers. Writing again, writing something different. Letting a project rest for a while. Picking it up again. No agent, wrong agent, new agent, right agent.
Perseverance. Stick-to-it-ivenss. Keeping on going.
-Crysanthemums, gum drops, and other delights served up Saturday evenings at retreats
-Viva Scriva salutes (forming a VS with our hands when all agreed on a comment at a critique meeting)
-Presents, most of them components of the “Viva Scriva outfit.” Ruth actually knit each one of us personalized socks (can you believe it?); colorful wraps from Brazil from Addie; wear-them-ten-ways hoodies from Amber; Czech bracelets from Nicole, customized VS pendants commissioned by Liz, logo Ts from Mary; wool scarves from Ecuador… (My contribution was culinary rather than sartorial: hand-carved wooden spoons from Romania.)
-Addie’s incredibly valuable, pretty-much annual, reflective exercises.
-Liz’s coaching about pursuing “low hanging fruit,” query letters, market overviews, etc.
-Amber’s review of careers of favorite authors as inspirational guides.
-Liz’s gratitude beads.
Support as we in turn went through professional or personal or family cares. Commiserating during setbacks. Celebrating accomplishments.
Retreats. Business meetings. Writing days. Art as process meetings.
Oh, yeah—and the monthly Critique Meetings that started and undergird everything. I received invaluable feedback on my manuscripts, and learned so much from others’ comments and writing even the months when I hadn’t submitted a manuscript.
-Respect and kindness (the praise sandwich).
-Truth (things said graciously, but everything that needed to be said, said).
-Sometime inadvertent tutelage about story arcs, motivations, trying it different ways, tight writing…
-Brainstorming manuscript problems, or process/approach, during one’s 20 Minutes.
-Encouragement: “This is so great.” “I know you can do it.” “I can’t wait to read more.”
-So much received from each Scriva and her particular “eye,” approach, and writerly-personality; from Addie, Amber, Liz, Mary, Michelle, Nicole, Ruth.
Reflecting on these and other gifts from these seven years, I have to paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s verse. How do I appreciate you, Scrivas? Let me count the ways.
Thank you, Scrivas.
-Sabina I. Rascol