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My name is Paul and I work in Lulu's Customer Voice Support department. When you're order doesn't arrive, or our converter eats your book, or the cover wizard is giving you fits, I'm one of the people here to help you get back on track!
But I'm also an avid writer and voracious reader. I've got a couple of short story publication credits (here's a sample: http://forgejournal.com/forge/2015/01/04/the-painter/), have written numerous others, along with a book of long-form essay/journalism and two books of fiction (none of which have been published - yet).
I'm here in the Lulu Author Workshop Forum space because I love writing workshops! I spent almost two years as a very active member of a large and successful workshop that featured five or more meetings a week, hosted retreats, forums, round-table discussions, author panels, and published both a monthly journal and an annual anthology. The community aspect of writing is a crucial, and oft under appreciated aspect of the process.
I’d love to connect with some of the writers who use this forum, and to partake in a new and exciting writing community! Criticism and encouragement are the only things that keep me writing (well, that and the burning urge in the pit of my stomach that wakes me up in the middle of the night), and I know from experience that the best work comes not from an individual, but from a community.
I’d also love to hear from some of the writers who use this forum about what you think might help foster a strong environment for writers here. I’m not just referring to bringing people to Lulu.com to publish and print books, but I want to help develop an environment, in these forums, for writers to come and connect with other writers, to talk about their work, the hindrances and the successes, to get and give feedback, and to grow as writers, so that, when the time comes to publish, your work is the best it can be.
I'm going to kick off with a fun writing exercise I got from a Professor some years ago. It goes like this:
Tell the entire history of everything in exactly 50 words.
I dredged up my response from this.
"First: Some stuff, spinning and bouncing.
Then; coherence, rules and coincidence.
Trial and error, unexpected results, failures, dictating new directions.
Single cells, complex organisms, fish and birds, dinosaurs and monkeys.
People! (Mostly Harmless. Ha!)
Growing, trial and error. Strive and love.
Modern technology. Microchips and Internet.
Digital future; unknown."
I'm pretty sure we were given a time limit of 5 minutes, so the results are raw, but I always loved exercises like this, because it makes you focus on two important pieces of the writing puzzle: the subject and the structure. I'd really be excited to see some other responses to this exercise, and to hear about fun and useful prompts/exercises other writers are using!
It’s a pleasure to be joining everyone here, and I look forward to many good conversations about the craft of writing to come!