To Workshop, or Not? by Ann Brady

to workshop ot not ann brady

I am sure many a writer has those moments when they ask themselves ‘should I do a workshop?’

The answer is of course yes – you should, no matter what level or expertise your writing is at.

“What?” I hear those long-term writers saying, “Why should I do a workshop? After all, I’m published and have been writing for a long time.”

The answer is simple we never stop learning, and as long as you understand that then you will be able to accept that doing the odd workshop every now and again isn’t showing that you are ‘slipping up’ or ‘losing it’ but shows that you are open to new ideas and suggestions which could truly benefit the manner in which you write. Which is the very reason why I did just that, spending five days doing a ‘Writing a Novel’ Workshop at Ty Newydd, Criccieth in North Wales.

My reason for taking on this workshop was multi-fold but predominantly it was because I was having some problems finishing, well actually finding, the beginning of my next historical novel. One I’ve been working on, and off, for the last six years.

Having written a musical play, I now need to complete this novel as it complements the play. I admit to struggling with the opening, especially as I have written about seven variations already. As it turned out, the problem was quickly resolved for me. Spending some one-on-one time with the two author tutors I was able to bring a different perspective to the story and now find I have my beginning and the flow of the story to finish it. I left the workshop feeling happy.

The other benefit of the workshop was mixing solely with like-minded people without any other distractions. There were ten students, two author tutors and a guest speaker – author Rachel Joyce. Each of the students were at different levels in their writing ability. Some were just starting out while others were published but in a different media.

We talked, we discussed, we criticised (in the nicest possible way) each other’s work – including the tutors. We were enjoying ‘words.’  The art of using words, reading words and speaking words. But there was no pressure. You joined in because you wanted to. Because you were interested and were keen to learn.

Ty Newydd offers an assortment of workshop retreats throughout the year, but they are not the only venue. A search on the Internet is sure to help you find a variety of retreats, including some abroad, which offers an exciting array of workshops covering various topics. If you can take advantage of these, then do so.

If, however, you find you haven’t got the time or the cost of such retreats don’t give up. There are plenty of smaller workshops available which will help all writers especially those just starting down the road of writing.

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To Workshop, or Not? by Ann Brady

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