Why I Take Writing Workshops

By on June 28, 2017

I’m currently taking Marie Force’s online workshop on series ( http://marieforce.com/workshops/ ). It’s so brilliant; I posted about it on Facebook. I then received quite a few messages from readers and writers asking me why, at my stage of my career, I’m continuing to take writing courses. I clearly know how to write a story. What is left to learn?

Oh boy. What ISN’T left to learn?

Every Story Is Different

Before I took my writing semi-seriously, I thought all I had to do was learn how to write ONE story and every future story would be easy to write. I’d merely apply what I’ve learned.

Yeah, no. That’s not how it works. (laughs hysterically at new writer me) EVERY story is different, which means EVERY story presents its own set of writing challenges. If I’m pushing myself as a writer, I haven’t yet faced these challenges.

But another writer might have.

Because this writer has already faced these new-to-me challenges, she will have tools in her writing toolbox that I don’t have (I first heard the toolbox reference in Stephen King’s awesome writing book – On Writing). During courses she hosts, she’ll share those tools with her students.

One New Tool Can Make The Difference

When I first started writing, I’d leave writing workshops overwhelmed, my brain uncomfortably full of new ideas, new writing tools. My toolbox was empty. Every point made by the host writer added another tool.

My toolbox is now fairly full. I have many of the tools the host writer offers. What I’m looking for is that one new tool, that one angle or trick or insight that could make a difference in my current story or in my future stories.

The Power Of Questions

I always come into a workshop with at least one question I’d like answered. Asking this question ensures I add one tool, at the minimum, to my toolbox.

Whenever I feel shy about asking my questions, about admitting that I don’t know everything, I think of the very first in person workshop I attended. I was seated near a HUGE name in writing. During a break, I asked her why she was taking a writing workshop. Didn’t she know everything? She smiled and said she didn’t. There was always more to learn. She owed it to herself and to her readers to be the best writer she could possibly be.

If this HUGE writer doesn’t know everything, it would be foolish to think I do.

Do you HAVE to take writing workshops? Of course not. This is writing. There is nothing you HAVE to do. But this is why I take writing workshops.

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