I know the secret to writing.
No, it’s not a strong hook, creating unforgettable characters, or even mastering the narrative craft. These things help, of course. As does an in-depth dissection of The Fugitive and Casablanca. But the secret for me, my friends, is simple: treat myself write.
Treat: Last weekend, I packed my family into the ole’ Prius and drove south for a three-day writing workshop. For almost 8 hours each day, I was inundated with technical writing advice on plot and structure (James Scott Bell is amazing). I was engulfed by eclectic energy and a camaraderie fueled by a shared goal to become a better writer. It was like being in a theme park with no lines (ah hem, a real treat).
Myself: Most aspiring writers agree, this endeavor is at times downright selfish. If it weren’t for incredibly supportive spouses, family, and friends – I’d venture to say the whole thing would go Circuit City on us (um, gone). Dedicating an entire long weekend to writing (for writers with intense day jobs, the weekend represents the very little quality family time we have) was undoubtedly a tall ask. It was selfish, in so many ways. But I asked and they obliged, so I took advantage of it. For the first time in my writing career, I treated myself to an entire weekend of writing.
Write: Right. Write. On the last day, Sunday, the conference room next door was occupied by a church group. Song and music broke through the dividing wall. I saw the light. It all clicked – writing is a Rocky proposition, so treating the writer in me right is absolutely critical in this whole thing. By stepping into the workshop, with the support of my family, I confirmed my attendance in a game that I very much enjoy.
I did myself a solid. And if that is indeed the secret, one thing is for sure, the hook is on me.
Categories: Creative Writing, Fiction, Observation, Perspective, Stream of Conscious
I think most workshops and conferences are great ways to get more involved with our writing. For me, not having to worry with the details of daily life while away from home makes it easier to focus on writing. Nice post.
I totally agree – just having the opportunity to focus on writing, and improving on it, made the entire thing worth it to me. Thanks for your comment, really appreciate it! Happy writing!
I find writing workshops and conferences always inspire me to get back to the computer and start writing. It’s like kick-starting your muse so you can write more, write better and get back to those back lot projects so you can finish them.
Glad you got what you wanted from your workshop. 🙂
Nice post. I’m glad you found the right/write workshop for you.
Thank you! You know I hear there are some really bad ones out there…James Bell was awesome – highly recommend!
It’s true. It pays to research.
I have to admit I find the idea of a Writers’ Workshop frightening. Which is odd, because as a Writing Major, every college class I attended was basically a workshop. But, go out and actually talk about writing with other people when I don’t have to? I’d rather…um…Well, I’d just rather not.
Actually, what I discovered in college is that if I TALKED about a story BEFORE I finished the rough draft, all the magic went out of it and I’d never get it finished. Once the rough draft was down, no problem.
Maybe it’s superstition.
Now that is interesting. It’s almost as if by talking about it, you have told the story you need to tell and there isn’t much left to do! Maybe it’s just preference? 🙂
I have to admit I had the jitters on the first day. For me, though, it wasn’t about sharing it was more about soaking it all in – I found everyone so interesting (talk about a breading ground for characters) and supportive.
Speaking of, thanks for supporting my blog!
Very inspirational! Thanks for posting. I hope your writing improves to your satisfaction. I know I enjoy your blog. 🙂
Thank you, that is so kind of you! I found the workshop so inspirational – I kept my mouth shut and took it all in. Loved it!
Sounds like an incredible weekend. Is there a website for the workshop you attended?
It was awesome! Actually, there was a dude who came out from Florida specifically for it. I have heard in the past that there are some really bad workshops…so I chose pretty carefully. I have read most of Jame’s books on writing and a few of his novels, and heard great things about his teaching style. I also follow him on twitter and figured why not. Totally worth it in my opinion.
Happy 4th Tom, looking forward to reading your short story when it comes out!
Thanks Dom, have a great holiday as well!