What is it like to work with Annalisa Parent, Writing Coach?
A reflection by Melissa
I’ve always found the thought of joining a writing group a little nerve-wracking. Going somewhere you don’t know to write with and receive criticism from people you’ve never met–it can be intimidating. You don’t know if the criticism you receive will be too harsh, because you don’t know the people and the kind of environment you’re walking into. Especially when you have to write something on the spot–something I know is not easy for me. Not to mention, a lot of groups have meeting times that make it hard to keep up with given my busy, often unpredictable schedule. Still, for a long time I’ve been looking for a writing group I could be comfortable with, because I have had good experiences in the past where my writing grew a lot.
That’s why I decided to give the Burlington Writing Salon a chance. The salon, held on Friday evenings, is led by Annalisa Parent who hosts the writing group from her easy to find space right on Main Street. I’d learned about it from Annalisa herself, who I’d met previously. She said I should come to the salon she’s running and experience it for myself, and I’m happy to say I was not disappointed. The space I found myself in said to me “This is a place to write.” The funky furniture gave the room a relaxed feel, and the art decorating the walls–everything from comic book characters to photographs of Amelia Earhart–all but urged me to take my creative side off the leash.
Being out of the group-writing scene for some time, the last time I had a chance to write whatever I wanted from a prompt was in a classroom with the stress of grades. The feeling of writing in response to a single word prompt for that long was amazingly freeing. To just take one word, having no right or wrong way about it, and write anything prompted by that word was a very different experience.
And even when reading back my piece and getting feedback from the group I felt relaxed and comfortable with the people. It felt good to hear from others what the strengths in my writing are so that I now have a better idea of what I can build up. Everyone even had fun in giving feedback, it was a very open, sometimes very funny, dialogue between fellow writers. I really enjoyed part of this writing salon with Annalisa. Her style of conducting the salon and the open, free-of-judgement air she carried had a strong effect on me in drawing out my creative writer, and gave all of our creative writers room to run.
We’d love to have you join us at an upcoming writing group. You can attend in person or via Skype on a drop-in basis. All groups are open to writers of all ages in all genres. Why not try one out this week and spur yourself into a writing habit?