Scott Marks 4:26 p.m., May 21
Room to Write is like a "study hall for writers," Nicole Vollrath, a Room to Write host, told me. The loosely structured quiet writing time is held at The Ink Spot (710 13th St Studio 210) downtown. I asked Vollrath a few questions about these literary sessions.
RT: What is the format of the workshop? How is it structured?
NV: For the first 10 minutes of every hour we chat, stretch, laugh and go on coffee runs. Then the next 50 minutes, we work quietly on our own creative writing projects. Some on laptops, some with pen and paper. Occassionally someone spends an hour curled up with a book or grades papers. We are open 10 to 5, and participants are free to come and go. Some write for a few hours in the morning, others arrive after lunch, and some people put in a full day.
RT: What can participants expect out of Room to Write?
NV: A frequent comment I hear from newbies is "I can't believe I got so much done!" . . . I absolutely thrive on the energy of being in a room of writers writing. Instead of stopping to take a break when I finish a scene, like I would at home, I'd see everyone around me working, and I'd delve into my next scene. Being away from the temptations of home (dishes needing washing, emails to answer, etc.) helps me get more writing accomplished.
RT: What is the atmosphere like?
NV: It's an environment that truly invites the muse. We have new artwork on the walls every two months, and because the Ink Spot is in the Art Lofts downtown, we sometimes hear DJs rehearsing shows, pass actors shooting video in the halls and I like to think we wordsmiths contribute to the creative energy in the whole building.
RT: Any advice to beginning writers on beginning a project?
NV: Room to Write provides a great, distraction-free environment to keep going. We don't offer prompts or critique at Room to Write, though sometimes we exchange advice and encouragement during the hourly breaks.
RT: How does a room full of writers help fuel creativity?
NV: It seems easier to take greater risks in the company of others . . . at Room to Write, I see colleagues putting in that effort and it inspires me to honor my own writing goals, and to just write the next sentence. And the one after that . . .
Nicole Vollrath hosts Room to Write every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free parking is available on Sundays and Room to Write is free for members of San Diego Writers, Ink. Membership is $20-35 annually for one, and offers access to perks like Room to Write and other literary events.