Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why Do I Need A Writing Workshop?

     Most writers have a love/hate relationship with workshops. Yet, they are invaluable for building skills and confidence in the craft and for the camaraderie they provide in an art that otherwise can be lonely.

    Writing with others can help your writing flourish. For a couple of hours each week we gather, and the isolation we feel is replaced with relationship.

The following are few reasons you might want to consider joining a workshop:

Meet and interact with other writers.

To learn something new or get to put into practice something you have only read about like (for example: writing with prompts).

Hands on, sleeves rolled up experimental work.

You learn from the work read and from the other participants.

At times, working in a group can be more fun than working alone.

You get information on writing and publishing that you can continue to use and translate into your own work.

You get feedback on the work you’ve done, and you get to hear valuable feedback on others work that you can implement in your own writing.

The exchange of information and experiences adds to your ever-growing satchel of knowledge.

You get to stretch your writing muscles and exercise your voice.

    By spending time learning the craft and creating new material, you are developing your skills and honoring your writing self.  Even though writing is a solitary endeavor, most writers can benefit from regular support and feedback on that which is most precious to them - the written word.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What do you mean "Workshop"?

I've read that finding a writing workshop is like selecting a daycare for your newborn child. It's hard to put the care and feeding of one's writing into the hands of strangers.

Like so many other American words, the term workshop, as it relates to a creative writing workshop, has come to be both noun and verb.

Workshop (n) A group session in which creative works are developed; an experiential class or seminar in which participants create new work or continue works in progress.

Workshop (v) To review a piece of creative work with other writers; for example, "Has your manuscript been workshopped yet?"

In academic settings, MFA programs, and at some writers conferences, a workshop generally means a read and critique session in which members of the group review participants' work.

For our purpose, we use the term "workshop" to mean a group that comes together once a week to write, at times exchange writing, interact and share information about writing, publishing and the writing life.

Few gatherings can be more invigorating to the writing soul than a writers' workshop.