Well, I ran my writer’s workshop on Wednesday. I spent the whole day running errands so I wouldn’t have time to get anxious about it. At lunchtime I drank a diet coke, which I don’t normally do because caffeine gives me the shakes–like I need more of that. I told myself that drinking it 6 and 1/2 hours prior to the workshop should keep me perky and alert without the whole body convulsions that can happen when I’m nervous and have caffeine in my system. When I got home, I went to visit the neighbors for a little while, hoping to keep my mind off my upcoming ‘performance.’ While I was there, I thought that time seemed to be moving awfully slowly. This is great, I thought. For once I don’t have to rush!
Then I realized my watch had stopped.
Aggghhh! Realizing my error, there was a mad dash for home. I had just enough time to get supper on the table and to change into nicer, cleaner clothes. Then off to the workshop I went.
Being a good little girl, I came prepared. I had my papers to hand out, my little exercises for demonstrating an important point I wanted to make about the idea of flow, extra pens, tape, name tags, and my book to show off. I was good to go. Unfortunately, I drank too much water at suppertime. But I managed all right in the end (i.e., I didn’t pee my pants).
Four people showed up and I was very grateful to see them. You can run a workshop and get nobody–that has happened to me before. And I cried. Well, I didn’t, but I might have wanted to.
Of course, half of the attendees who showed up were related to me.
But we had fun. The workshop went well (according to my relatives, anyway). I was able to keep things on track, for the most part, and conversation flowed. Everybody participated and contributed. I even learned some things myself. They say that when the teacher can learn from the pupil, then the pupil is ready. Ready for what I’m not entirely sure about, but my workshop attendees are ready for something now!
It seemed that the biggest issue that came up for the writers who came had to do with getting motivated (or not being able to, that is). I see that a lot with writing. When I first started out, I thought to myself, this is a LOT of work! But I kept at it, and kept at it, and kept at it. And now, I can’t imagine going a day without writing. It has become a passion for me. What has helped, however, is that writing has gotten easier. You pick up a lot of tricks along the way. That’s why I did the workshop. I thought I could pass along what I’d learned the hard way and maybe make it easier for people struggling with the process now. I could have been evil and kept all my secrets to myself, but I wasn’t. I was full of love for my fellow human beings. Though you’ll notice that I didn’t bring any donuts to the workshop.
While my workshop focused mainly on the editing process (something I realized as I was presenting it), editing is not something you should worry about when you first start writing. If you do, you will never get past page one. I ended up redoing my first Anaedor book many, many times–especially that all-important first chapter. So when you first start out writing, just go for it. Get stuff on paper. You can fix things later.
However, typing over and over again, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" doesn’t count.
We also discussed fantasizing about your story before you start writing it down. Put yourself into the story and imagine how it would all play out. You’ll be surprised at what happens, what twists and turns come in that you hadn’t even thought of, what characters show up and demand to be included. It’s a fun and wonderful process…So don’t forget that!
Make Jack a fun boy!