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Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing workshops for the fragile ego

Like most writers I know, I’m a little insecure about my writing. A part of me worries that I’ve been writing drivel all these years and that one of these days, people are going to find me out.

So, I study the craft in hopes that I will improve, and grow. Problem is, I’m an intuitive writer, a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’m no good at analyzing my own work or methods. And I’m a terrible judge of what I’ve written.

So I read books on writing, read blogs on writing and take writing workshops in hopes that some of what I learn will filter down into my subconscious, where the “boys in the basement” can do the heavy lifting when needed.

My next workshop is in April. I’m going back to Lincoln City for an in-person workshop organized by WMG Publishing and taught by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I’m very excited about this workshop for several reasons:

  1. I will learn something new. This one, How to Write Fantasy in all Forms, will be an intensive writing workshop on the various techniques used in the fantasy genre. I write fantasies as well as mysteries and sometimes, I merge the two genres. I know I will leave with some good short stories and a dozen ideas for novels and other short stories. Kristine Rusch is a great instructor and she always inspires me to do some of my best writing.
Many of the WMG workshops have migrated online, and I have to admit that I like the online format a lot. One of the recent workshops I’ve taken was Writing with Depth, one of the best writing workshops I’ve ever taken. So, yeah, online workshops rock. But there are serious advantages to an in-person workshop that aren’t available online. For instance:

  1. I will be surrounded by like-minded students, about 25 of them, many of whom I’ve met before in other WMG workshops. I learn almost as much from my fellow students as I do from the instructors. These are all professional writers who want to improve their craft. My kind of people. The informal chats, the lunches, the laughing, the sharing of resources, tips, experiences, the discovery of new friends… that’s hard to get with an online workshop.
  1. The workshop will be held at the WMG offices in Lincoln City, Oregon. The WMG staff make themselves available to the students for advice on promotion, audio books, cover design… anything and everything to do with professional publishing. It’s an extremely valuable “perk.”
  1. And finally, did I mention that the workshop takes place in Lincoln City, Oregon? Right on the coast? Every time I go there for a workshop, I stay at the Historic Anchor Inn, which is a two-minute walk from the beach. The Anchor is a funky little hotel with a seaside theme and wonderful staff. Every time I go there, I’m welcomed with a hug and a smile. I mean, can you beat that?
These WMG workshops are hard work. Hard work. And yet, I always feel refreshed and recharged after one of them. And I always leave feeling that maybe, just maybe, I am a real writer.

How about you, fellow writers? Any favourite workshops you like to attend?

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Wynter said...

Like you, I always question myself. Every sale I'm sure is just a fluke! I'll take any class taught by the amazing Debra Dixon. Alicia Rasley's classes are also very helpful.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Wow, that looks like fun! And that inn is so adorable. I hope you have a great time and learn a lot. (And maybe write a future blog post on it? Pretty please.). I prefer the in-person workshops to the online ones (where I can cheat and say I'll do the HW later, when I get to that part in my book). ;)

Dee J. said...

Very fun! Have a great time! I went to "boot camp" in San Diego many years ago to plot a book. One of the hardest most wonderful weekends of my life. Bummed that they haven't offered it again. FYI, I think many of us feel the same as you when it comes to writing. (At least I do.)

Rita said...

WOW! Those classes look amazing. I also like they are limited to a small number. Hmmmm. I need to think about taking some of them. Thanks for the heads up.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Thanks for sharing, Wynter!

Ann Marie, I love the Historic Anchor Inn and would recommend it to all writers. The owners *love* having writers stay with them.

Thanks, DeeJ. and I'll keep my eyes open for that San Diego workshop -- share if you see it pop up.

Rita, love the WMG workshops and I highly recommend them. Feel free to contact me off list if you're interested in a particular one. I might have taken it and could provide some insight.

Nita said...

I've never attended a writing workshop ( not counting the fabulous creative writing classes I took at Yukon College). I would love to give a beginner's one a try.

Elise Warner said...

I've never taken a workshop but your description makes it sound so worthwhile.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Nita, I've taken my share of Creative Writing classes at Yukon College, too! Writing workshops are great and there are lots out there for beginners. It's a great way to create a writing community, too.

Elise, I'm pretty sure you could *teach* a workshop...

Cathy Perkins said...

I love the more focused writing sessions and I've heard wonderful things about WMG to check out the full line up...

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