Post written by Gabrielle Yetter, 2017 L'ATELIER community member
When I signed up for L'ATELIER, I was looking for an experience that would enrich me and improve my writing (not to mention provide me with a week in the gorgeous French countryside). I knew none of the other participants, but had great faith I'd find something special. That feeling came from three sources: Sara, Laura, and Michelle, the course-leaders.
From the moment I made contact with Sara on Facebook and started barraging her with questions, she, Laura and Michelle answered all my questions and explained exactly what I could expect. They gave me professional, personal, detailed, and informative answers that inspired me to respond with two words: "I'm in!"
"The silence.The beauty.
The absence of anything else to do other than eat, talk, walk and write."
Did I make the right decision? One hundred percent yes. What did I love about it? This: Getting up every morning to a French buffet breakfast followed by four glorious hours writing; just writing. Sitting alone with nothing more than a laptop and a mind brimming over with ideas, and having the luxury of time to explore them, think about them, and put them on paper (or computer). Sharing three delicious gourmet meals with a small group of serious writers who shared ideas and provided valuable feedback. Getting to know those people and learning from them--both through personal interaction and during daily interactive workshops. Spending evenings together, reading from our work, and becoming inspired to write better, create better, produce better. The silence. The beauty. The absence of anything else to do other than eat, talk, walk and write.
Not only did L'ATELIER inspire me, it set me on a different course. I'd arrived with the intent of self-publishing and left committed to finding an agent and publisher. Three months later, I completed the first draft of my first novel, in line with the goal I set in France. Was it the wine, the cheese, the tranquility, or the company of other good writers that influenced me? I believe it's all of the above.
Gabrielle Yetter is a British born writer who worked as a journalist in South Africa before moving to the U.S. In 2010, she and her husband, Skip, travelled to Cambodia where she authored The Definitive Guide to Living in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, and The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia (about traditional Cambodian desserts) in addition to dozens of freelance articles and her blog The Meanderthals. In 2015, she and Skip published Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure and she later authored two childrens' books, Ogden the Fish Who Couldn't Swim Straight and Martha the Blue Sheep (all available on Amazon)