Sunday, April 8, 2007

When to just say no, thanks

So, after my previous post, you may be wondering, did Conda just change her mind? Not that I don't do that sometimes but there are reasons to NOT workshop. Here are the ones that come to my mind:

First, workshopping replaces whatever creative endeavor you're doing. I've seen this happen with friends who instead of writing, writing, writing and then submitting, submitting, submitting go to workshops. "I'm waiting until I attend 'blank' workshop in June," a good friend used to tell me, "because I know I'll have learned such-and-such and any writing would be a waste of time." I never knew how to point out the fallacy of her thinking because I suspected that there was always another workshop and her novel would never be finished. Unfortunately, because she had a wonderful premise and a great start, I was right.

Second, if for any reason a particular workshop doesn't seem to fit you. If you're not excited by the prospect of taking a particular workshop, either in person, or online, if it doesn't resonate with you for whatever reason, don't take it. Even if it seems like it would be a good idea. Even if your best friend loved, adored, and is now successful from "X" workshop they attended, don't go. It doesn't matter why--maybe that particular workshop is just not you, not your tastes or style, or just not you at this particular time. And workshops do cost time and money.

And that brings us to our last reason for not attending a workshop. If you're on a tight budget of time and/or money like most of us are (after all, we're artists, we're supposed to be starving) then pick and choose what you use those resources for. Perhaps, if you're a writer, a conference might work better for you than a workshop. Or buy a book from a workshop instructor and give yourself an inexpensive version. Or just invest more time in your craft.

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