This past week I attended the Minneapolis Young Writers Workshop. I had fun, met a lot of great people, and learned how to be a better writer. Here are 5 reasons you ,too, should attend a writing workshop.
1. Learn how to write better
Although most of the information at writing workshops is not groundbreaking, there is likely at least one thing you will learn or learn to approach differently. This is especially true for writing exercises (there appear to be more of them than the number of pages in a library) which can be useful for overcoming writer’s block (yay productivity), developing scenes, and more.
Writing is typically an activity done in solitary confinement- cut off from the world and often to the trains of thought you desperately try to catch. Unfortunately, in order to be a successful author, people have to know about your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for people’s contact information or simply to talk to other writers (they’re probably just as daunted by social interaction as you are.)
3. Get feedback on your writing
A lot of writing workshops offer critiques, which are great when you’ve been editing and rereading the same words for an eternity. They can also help if you know there’s a problem but don’t know exactly how to fix it. Sign up for critiques or even find a group of writers to start a critique group once the workshop is over.
4. Get inspired
Meeting other authors and hearing them speak about their failures and successes might be the motivation you need (especially to just finish your first draft, no matter how unsightly it is initially). It can be comforting to know that most people have at least one manuscript that will never make it out of the drawer because it’s so bad, and to know that you’re not the only one who took years to write your first draft.
5. Feel productive as an author without having to write
To quote Dorthy Parker, “I hate writing, but I love having written.” The process of actually writing can be frustrating and mentally taxing. So why not go to a writing workshop to feel productive, but not have to touch your manuscript? Win-win.
Note: Workshops are not going to suddenly make you the next JK Rowling, neither in writing ability nor exposure. They are a good step to getting better, however, and can be beneficial when approached in the correct way.
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What are other advantages to going to writing workshops? Comment below.