A writing workshop. It’s easy to wonder exactly what that means. Is it weird?
Can I go if I don’t write all the time, but I write sometimes? What will it help me with? Do I even need help if I am an established writer? These, I am sure are the many questions one might ask when faced with something entitled a writing workshop. So I wanted to take some time on the blog to talk about what exactly to expect in a writing workshop environment.
A workshopping environment literally changed the trajectory of my writing career. Although I dabbled in high school, took a creative writing class and even won an award for a short story I had written, writing was always something I just kind of did when I felt like it. It was at Temple University, my senior year I think, that I took a class called Poetry as Performance which in many ways was similar to workshopping. We learned about different forms of poetry and we had different things to write about each week. We kept them all in a journal and we were prompted to perform them in front of the class from week to week. They warranted discussion and they created a bond that I had never experienced in my life with a group of strangers. At the end of it, we performed and showcased our work.
This class was the catalyst for the creation of The Writer’s Muse workshop. I wanted the opportunity to recreate this experience for other writers because it literally changed my life. It made me more comfortable with my voice, it gave me the opportunity to share intimate and authentic thoughts with an audience, and it helped broaden the scope of the things that I was capable of writing about. I am rarely short on inspiration in writing and it’s because I learned how to make my LIFE my creative influence. Every conversation, every movie I watch, the scenery that I drive past all influence the things that I write about.
Every workshop is different. And I am not necessarily keen on following whatever rules are set, so bear with me. But what is happening in an actual writing workshop? What can you actually expect? Why is it even important?
Prompts that challenge you.
It doesn’t matter if you have been writing 5 years or 30 years. You will always be becoming as a writer. That is what I have decided. So, when you attend my workshop, you will have the opportunity to respond to prompts you may not have thought of on your own. This helps to broaden your horizon as a writer. When I respond to prompts from other writers, they have the ability to pull things out of me that I never would have pulled out on my own.
I have read about some uncomfortable workshops where people’s feedback was not welcomed. Or the teacher was this or that. But that is not the case at The Writer’s Muse. You come to get what you want from the workshop, but you’re also going to have the opportunity to meet and listen to other writers. Writing is a very lonely sport. We don’t get out much. But it is very important to have a community of people who “get” you. You can relate to one another, share inhibitions, fears, and triumphs. That class that I mentioned, man, that was a moment in time and I will NEVER forget those people.
Ideas for new or current works.
A workshop is really designed to help you with starting a new piece that you may want to finish later or helping you tweak an idea that may have gone cold. Or you may get insight at the workshop that you work into a current project. It’s to help you flex your writing muscle. That’s the only way that it stays strong.
You get the opportunity to get insight on your work. Whether it’s the current prompts in the class or bringing something that you have been working on outside of the workshop. This is gold as a writer if you ask me. There are so many times that I am working on something and would love to just be able to send it to another writer to get their thoughts. This is a real live opportunity to share in a safe environment and make your writing its best.
The answers to some of your questions …
What if I am not a creative writer?
Sometimes you just have to write things that may not matter in the grand scheme of your career. Creative writing is fun. It pulls on another part of your brain and helps you think in a way that’s different from your norm. I have had tons of writers attend that don’t write creatively on the regular basis at all. But the workshop helps them stretch their mind.
I already know how to write, why would I come?
A workshop is not about teaching you how to write. It’s about giving you new perspectives, new ideas and helping to refine what you already have going. Great writers also workshop from time to time. Remember, you are always becoming.
What if I write as a hobby?
Who cares? This workshop works whether you are a professional writer or a novice. Just come out for an afternoon with great people and to write some exciting things. You don’t have to be pursuing writing as a career to attend.
Are guys invited?
YES! My audience just happens to be women. But I have had men attend my writing workshops. We need more visibility for male writers. Come out and stop thinking everything is just for women.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions in regard to workshopping or the The Writer’s Muse specifically.
There are still a few spots left for The Writer’s Muse DC. So grab your seat and enjoy a great afternoon full of writing, community, and creativity.