As you may recall, we moved down here in stages: Jim in February, 2018 to start his job, and the rest of the family in July. Soon after he made his move, he surprised us by joining a writer’s group.

Jim enjoys some creative writing and his group has been a valuable resource for him. Well, on Saturday, he invited me take a glimpse into the Roanoke literary world by signing us both up for the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference.

The conference took place at Hollins University, just north of the city. It was a lot of fun just being on a college campus, taking notes in classrooms and shuffling to the auditorium (it was maybe not so much fun for the students in the cafeteria as all of the writers converged on them at lunch).

There were a slew of classes to take. I sat in on a class entitled “Understanding Legal Structures and If You Need One,” where a counselor from Roanoke’s Regional Small Business Development Center dropped some facts about LLCs, business licenses, and tax questions. The crowd in there had a very lively discussion and it was impressive how everyone helped each other out with their questions.

I also took part in workshops on descriptive writing using the senses, virtue in writing (be careful what you write, because your writing defines you), “shoddy” first drafts (with a nod to Anne Lamotte’s classic Bird by Bird), and finding your writing project. I chatted with encouraging and very smart folks, learned about a writers’ group right out here at Smith Mountain Lake, and thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with a colorful collection of folks (I’m looking at you, guy in the kilt).

At the end of the day, Jim and I retreated to the Cabo Fish Taco in Roanoke to refuel and recharge our introvert selves because that was a lot of chatting all day.

A little quiet time.

And of course I signed up for the Regional WritersConference Facebook group. Because although Jim was the first of us to jump onboarda writing group, everyone knows who the real joiner is in this family.

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