Writing is in the Kentucky Air

Perhaps it's just because I'm working on writing more, but doesn't it seem that Lexington is just ripe for fostering writers? Between great book stores, lots of published local authors, inspiring scenery and places for improving your craft, all signs point to Lexington being an incredibly wonderful place to embrace writing. Here are some resources to get your writing mojo flowing:

  • Carnegie Center: I attended my first writing event at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning earlier this year and have been really impressed by the wonderful workshops they offer. Not only is the instruction from wonderful, motivating writers, but the environment is open to novices and published authors alike. They also have writers spaces where you can work without interruption. To learn more, visit their website
  • Lexington Public Library: The Lexington Public Library has a lot of workshops - some in conjunction with the Carnegie Center, and some that they produce by themselves. Their calendar always has something going on, and anything I've attended there has been wonderful. They also have great meeting spaces you can use if you want to find a place for your writers group to meet.  I must also give a shout out to their online systems and hold services. I reserve everything I want online and pick it up at the location of my choice, labeled with my name. Insanely convenient. Learn more here. 
  • Morris Book Shop: The Morris Book Shop is an independently owned bookstore that is just a place you want to explore and spend time in. I stopped in a couple of days ago to pick up a new book from one of my favorite authors and I had to drag myself out of there. They also have a wonderful seating area with pretty chairs. (Really, they're Pinterest-worthy). I love that they have over 20,000 titles but feel like a neighborhood place you could drop by daily and not get overwhelmed at the shelves. Here's their website. 
  • Joseph-Beth Booksellers: Pre-Barnes and Noble, there was Joseph-Beth Booksellers. The founders lived across the street from me when I was a teenager and I just thought they were the coolest people ever for creating this beautiful store with SO MANY BOOKS! Roam around as long as you want, grab a treat from the cafe, and if you ever have a question, ask their insanely educated staff. It's transferred to new owners, but still retains the charm of old. Visit their site. 
  • Keeneland: So I know this doesn't really seem to fit into the list (although they do have a wonderful library with everything Thoroughbred). Every time I step into Keeneland, whether it's for horse racing or for a community event, I get a million story prompts in my head. Some examples: Unrequited love story in the 1940s between a farm hand and the daughter of the trainer; the young adult novel including a girl having her first taste of bourbon in the Keeneland parking lot; the story behind the group of 6 widows that sit in the clubhouse every Thursday in near silence... it goes on and on! If you can't get there in person, at least check out their website for photographic inspiration.
What are some other local literary resources or inspirations?

Books In Progress Conference

A couple of weeks ago, I finally utilized a gem in Lexington, The Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning. As someone who has a goal to write a book but no idea if I'm on the right path, I thought the Books-in-Progress Conference sounded perfect.

The conference featured sessions for writers of all types: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, YA, and more. Bestselling author and Kentucky-native Barbara Kingsolver led the keynote session where she answered a variety of questions from the group about her inspiration, research, writing, and editing process. Literary agents Sorche Fairbank and Janet Reid were on hand to have individual sessions with authors, and also to speak about the querying process.

The sessions were fantastic and I left not only with inspiration to write, but also feeling that you don't have to be a literary whiz in order to call yourself a writer. 

The Carnegie Center offers classes both online and off throughout the year, and also provides writing mentors for consultation. If you have any interest in writing, check them out as we continue to hold Kentucky as the literary arts capital of Mid-America. (Here's a great article from Business Lexington about local authors)

Learn more about the Carnegie Center on their website. To read about more of HerKentucky's favorite Kentucky-writers, check out this post.