Debra Whittam - AUTHOR & WICE alumnA
In the summer of 2014 I went out of my comfort zone and applied to the Paris Writers Workshop in hopes to find an ending to my book, Am I Going To Be Okay? Surprisingly enough, my first chapter, “The Driving Lesson” was accepted and off I went. As a first time ‘author want-to-be’, I thought my manuscript sounded like a terrible third grade book report. I was emboldened with acceptance into the program hoping other writers would provide inspiration and they really did!
Orientation provided me with examples of other writers who knew one another and had already published books and articles. Feeling far less than all the others, I sat off to the side observing rather than participating. There was a time when I drank heavily which helped with social discomfort of some situations. Now, 12 years sober and supposedly more adult, I tried to act like I fit in. It didn’t work, and so leaving early, I thought, was my only option.
Soon, though, several people came over and we started a conversation about being newcomers to the PWW. These people and many of the eleven other participants have become lifelong friends and associates. Martin, Joy, Pamela, Lori, and Aditi liked my writing and I loved theirs. The week flew by with the realization that most everyone suffered from similar, familiar fears of not being good enough. Our bonds were soon formed.
I love this program from WICE. I plan on returning this coming summer, in 2020, and I can’t wait. Veronica is a joy to work with, as is Dimitri whom I have contacted at WICE each time I’ve come to do a book event. All I have to do is let WICE know I’m traveling to Paris, and whatever I've recently published becomes a book event!
I am honored and proud to be an alumna of WICE. I suggest to my author friends and creatives to consider sending their ideas in to apply for the PWW 2020. And, oh by the way, the week after I returned home from the 2014 PWW, the ending to my book came to me. All as a direct result of the power of programs like the PWW and the amazing people in them.