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by Hedgebrook Guest

It is truly amazing how much your life can change in one year.

This March was the one year anniversary of my debut novel, The Truth About Awiti. Since its publication I have resigned from my job as a Policy Advisor for the US Department of Energy to pursue writing full-time. I have discussed The Truth About Awiti at colleges, universities, and high schools, and recently the novel was selected as a Foreward Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards’ finalist. Pinch me!

Yes, my life has changed drastically. And of course, one does not reach such exciting successes alone. It seemed the minute I sent the tweet, “I think I am going to write a novel,” a community of women writers reached out to help me achieve my goals. And this is not to say that male writers did not offer support, because they did. But there are unique challenges that women writers encounter and it helps to have someone who has already navigated the turbulent waters keep you from drowning.

I definitely appreciated every message of encouragement. From managing writing with family responsibilities (hello crockpot!) to making personal time for self-care and reflection, each word of wisdom brought me closer to my goals. In the age of technology, naturally the majority of my support came through tweets, direct messages, and emails. It was not until I attended Hedgebrook’s Winter Salon in December 2015 that I came to face-to-face with the power of women writers. To say it changed my life is an understatement.

At the Winter Salon I had an opportunity to meet so many talented women writers, and obtain advice from experienced teachers. From understanding how the use of imagery can aid in writing to incorporating yoga to benefit the writers’ body and mind, no stone was left unturned. And the food! I would be remiss in failing to mention the wonderful staff and locally sourced, homemade meals. But aside from these wonderful happenings, I received something even greater.

There is power in sisterhood. There is an energy in touch—handshakes and hugs that accompany words of advice reach deeper than electronic messages. Reading your work to women as they smile and nod in encouragement feels different. And it feels necessary. The power of sisterhood is definitely best experienced in person.

I left the Winter Salon feeling energized and encouraged to put forth my best work in 2016. Many of the attendees have kept in touch and we continue to support each other in any way we can. Whenever a woman writer asks me for advice, rather than reply with an email filled with dos and don’ts, when possible I say, “Let’s find a time to meet.” I want to hold another aspiring writer’s hand, smile, look in her eyes and tell her, “It’s going to be a bit of a challenge, but you can do this!”

In reflecting on how much my life has changed in one year, my experience at Hedgebrook tops the list. Hedgebrook is a place that understands the challenges women writers face — first in developing their work, and then in seeking publication. It is indeed a sanctuary for women writers, and I am forever grateful that I had the chance to experience its power.


About the Author:

CP Patrick

A lover of fiction and fantasy from a young age, CP Patrick enjoys writing stories interwoven with the African Diaspora experience. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and M.A. in African Studies from The Ohio State University. She received her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. The Truth About Awiti is her debut novel.







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Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.


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1 Comment

  • Rebecca Cleary
    12:27 PM - 7 April, 2016

    How delightful to read your reflection and be wafted back to Winter Salon 2015. It was such a delight to meet you and be graced by your loveliness and youthful enthusiasm. I so enjoyed the chapter from The Truth About Awiti that you shared with us. Going home then and reading the novel was truly delicious. Thank you sincerely for the story, for the history, for the spirit that lives through your writing. Those of us who have tasted of the Hedgebrook experience are indeed fortunate and deeply nourished. All the best to you!

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