“In revision, I am looking for both the joy and the discovery of the better writing waiting for me when I take a step-by-step approach–I find it empowering.” – Charlotte Gullick
This July, our month-long virtual Summer Writing Retreat features three great classes (Fiction, Memoir, Revision), plus weekly special events. The Revision class will be taught by Charlotte Gullick, an instructor who – class after class – delivers insights and inspiration to writers in all genres. This year, Charlotte will be tackling “The Joy and Discovery of Revision: A Step-by-Step Approach” and we are so excited to see how the four weeks unfold.
We asked Charlotte to share some thoughts on the class with us – here’s what she had to say.
Scribe: You’ve taught at the Summer Writing Retreat previously, welcome back! Can you tell us why you enjoy this event and spending time with this community of writers?
CG: I think writers at any level and at any point in a given project need community: for bolstering, for insight, for connection. I believe that the Summer Writing Retreat is a fantastic opportunity for writers to get their creative wells filled, so to speak. It’s almost like you can feel the re-ignition of enthusiasm and courage that seems to fire up participants as they share and refine their work. Plus, it’s a blast!
Scribe: You’re teaching the Revision class and are focusing on The Joy and Discovery of Revision: A Step-by-Step Approach – can you tell us why you wanted to approach revision from this angle?
CG: I wanted to focus on the joy and discovery of revision because that’s how I see it: what clues did we leave ourselves in the first/early drafts? What got us motivated in the first place to take on this particular project? What does the process of writing it have to teach as humans, as writers, and as supporters of our peers? I love this angle because it’s based on the idea that our early drafts have so much to teach us, if we know how to identify the lessons and to listen to them.
Scribe: How does this topic resonate with your own work and your own development as a writer?
CG: I am a very slow writer–I think it’s because I get ideas that are beyond my current insight and skill set. Every book I have written is a stretch goal, and I had to learn that slow is okay, that taking a step-by-step to revision actually yields better work and improves my quality of life since I know I don’t have to try to address all the elements of craft in one or two drafts. In revision, I am looking for both the joy and the discovery of the better writing waiting for me when I take a step-by-step approach–I find it empowering.
Scribe: How would you finish this sentence: If the students in my class take away one thing from the four weeks, I hope it’s:
CG: …the resolve to finish their projects because it brings them some measure of joy and satisfaction.
Charlotte Gullick is Chair of the Creative Writing Department at Austin Community College. She holds BA in Literature/Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz and a MA in English/Creative Writing from UC Davis as well as a MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her awards include a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship for Fiction, a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, and residencies at MacDowell and Ragdale. She is the author of the novel By Way of Water.
Click here to learn more about Charlotte Gullick’s revision class at the 2022 Summer Writing Retreat.