Yesterday, I held the Revive Your Writing! Workshop at c4Yourself Gallery. I’m hoping those of us who became a small community for a couple of hours came away from the day with something good, whether about themselves or their writing. Here’s what I came away with.
- Writers are generous: In reading aloud the results of our writing exercises, people were generous with positive, practical comments about many different aspects of the writing…scene, character, dialogue, and where’d that come from? It was great to see.
- Writers are brave: Connecting with a group of strangers, knowing you really only share your humanity and an interest in the event that brought you together, can be an act of bravery for some. For others, revealing yourself and being vulnerable through your writing is courageous. And reading aloud can be a challenge to the uninitiated or unexperienced, whether alone or in said group of newly-met souls. Those who gathered at the workshop were brave enough to stride forward amidst all those circumstances.
- Writers need each other: It takes time to learn how to write well, and how the process works best for each of us personally. The writers at this workshop were of varied skill levels, with varied writing interests. One thing in common was that no one had a current community of writers to share their writing or the challenges of doing so. Being around others who share your interest in writing is critical to helping you along your path (and you helping others, too).
Another thing I came away with is that writers need assurance: I frequently meet writers (or those who want to call themselves writers, but find it hard to do so) whose creativity has been shaken. Their writing and their abilities (or desire) to write have been dismissed, discouraged, and sometimes discarded. While a good story has conflict, the opposing forces found between a person who wants, needs, and feels the desire to write and those who would stop them for reasons known and imagined.
At the workshop, I referenced The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (which I shared there and here) as an invaluable tool for creatives needing some good orderly direction in shedding false opinions and moving forward as writers, artists, and people. It helped me long ago; I think it could help most anyone, particularly those at the beginning of (or at a standstill in) their writing or creative journey.
And finally, here are two things I didn’t have time to share, but would have.
- Writing anything is good practice for you as a writer. Eventually, as you grow in your abilities, find the kind of writing that fuels your passion to write, and focus on that. It’s good to dabble, but it is better to get better at what you really want to write.
- Write. Produce junk, produce timeless prose, produce something you look at later and think “What was I thinking?” Just get it out, get it down on screen or paper. You can always work with it from there, but you must to have something you can edit before you can improve it.
Based on the response from those who attended, and the interest of those who didn’t, I’m planning future workshops, some similar, some on different writing topics (and possibly special guests, too). Stay tuned, or to be included on the mailing list (no spam or email sales, just announcements and anytime opt-out), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.