An interview with Caitlin McGillicuddy

Why did you decide to go to L'ATELIER 2015?

Attending L'ATELIER was an ultimatum that I issued to myself. A line I drew in the sands of a tense internal dialogue about who I am and what impact I will make with my life for myself, for my family and in the world. 

Is this dramatic? Probably. But sometimes that happens when you have spent more than a decade avoiding making a commitment to try hard, really hard, at the one thing you know should be doing. So initially L'ATELIER was my no more excuses, no children, no work, no distractions. 

It was just me, my computer and a very likely chance of failure.  But it ended up being the people, the space and the experience that has proven to me everything of which I am capable and has ultimately changed the course of my life.  So ya, L'ATELIER was awesome.

On what kind of project were you working? 

I came to L'ATELIER with the first chapter of a book I had been thinking about for two years.  I had an outline, I had ideas and I had 800 words. I left L'ATELIER with a fully formed story brewing, over 10,000 words and a commitment to getting it done.  3 months later I hit the 40,000 word mark. Working full-time with a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old, this is only something I accomplished because of the ongoing encouragement of my L'ATELIER community.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience?

The most rewarding part of the L'ATELIER experience was finding this community of writers. Yes, I accomplished goals I set for myself and wrote, but even more empowering for me as a writer was being able to help my fellow writer friends unstick themselves and move their own work along. 

It is awesome to watch other writers discover new things about their characters and their stories, to be surprised by how suddenly a key plot point rises out of the waters of a dull chapter they were about to cut. It is fun and inspiring and helps you charge your own work ahead at a much faster rate than you would be able to alone.

What was the most challenging part of the experience?

For me the challenging parts of L'ATELIER were all unrelated to the writing because that part was all magical (Important to note: I am a glutton for feedback. I love it, so that part wasn't a challenge). 

My L'ATELIER challenges were 1. Not stuffing my face every day with the AMAZING food.  2. Pulling myself away from these writers and our discussions each night so I could go to sleep and of course (3) having to go home.

What are you most looking forward to about L'ATELIER 2016? 

I am counting down the days to L'ATELIER 2016.  It will be coming home to my writerly self and the people who know best how to nurture this part me. The people who know me as Caitlin the writer, not Caitlin the Mom or Caitlin the Professional.  And to all of the work that will pour out of me as a result.  

Caitlin McGillicuddy reads from a draft of her first novel, which arrived in France at 800 words, left at 10,000, and was 40,000 three months later. 

Caitlin McGillicuddy reads from a draft of her first novel, which arrived in France at 800 words, left at 10,000, and was 40,000 three months later.