Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Writing workshops and conferences

It's that time of year--no, not for Christmas shopping, but for workshop shopping. The new line of workshops are out, and my, are they lovely fashions.

Okay, enough. The next couple of posts are going to be about workshops.

First: Should you attend a workshop? Any workshop requires 3 things: Time, effort (focus, work) and money--things that are in short supply for most writers. So when to go to a workshop?

Ask yourself these questions:
1. Have you been reading a lot? Of everything? Of books on writing?
2. Have you been writing? A lot?
3. Have you been feeling stuck at a certain level in your writing? Or yearning for some more tools to increase your abilities? Or wanting to try something completely different in writing?

If you answered yes to most of the questions above, you might get a lot out of a workshop. If you have just started writing, or haven't been writing for a while, then it's better to wait. Workshops help with the creative process and it's best to be in the midst of writing.

Readers, other questions that should be asked before spending time, energy and money on a workshop? Experiences with attending a workshop--that were good or bad?

Next up, how to find a good workshop.


The Muse said...

I think it would be a grand experience to go to a workshop. I really do want to branch out. Time and money are my biggest hold-backs. For now I'll just have to keep practicing the way I have been. I hope that's enough.

Have a great weekend!

Conda Douglas said...

Muse, I can tell from your blog that you are doing exactly what you need to do--writing. A lot! Best thing you can do!

At Donald Maass' seminar, when he was asked about workshops, classes, reading books on writing, how much to do and when he said (paraphrased). "Write and write and write. Then read and read. Then write some more."

Swubird said...


I answered yes to all three questions - so I guess I need a workshop real bad. But the deal is: time, energy and money. I have the time. I can even scrap up a few bucks. But the energy is the thing. You see, being all interested in saving the environment they way I am, I've been conserving my energy. No use wasting it. So I watch TV. I blog. I watch TV. What do you think?

Good tips.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great series. I love workshops. Conferences, too.

Conda Douglas said...

Swubird, just like your blog, I think you are hilarious. And hey, blogging counts as writing--especially when it's as good and interesting as yours.

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks, booklady. I too love both and if I could would attend all of them. Which means some days I'd have to be in more than one place at once.

Kathy McIntosh said...

I think you need to correctly set your expectations and understand the purpose of the workshop. Some are truly designed to help writers and others are more showcases for published authors. Some merge those two objectives very well...I loved Bare Bones, sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of Sisters in Crime (it was years ago, and I'm not sure it even still exists). Met wonderful authors (among them Nancy Pickard and Carolyn Wheat) and learned a lot.

Conda Douglas said...

Your comment is a preview of my next blog entry, Kathy! Thank you and thank you for the recommendation of Bare Bones as well.

Dave King said...

Hi Conda,
Your post makes me feel very envious. I would love to try a workshop (or two), but time and opportunity. or the lack of them, precludes it for the foreseeable future, I am afraid. The best I can do is the occasional on-line workshop. Stimulating though they can be, they are not quite the same, I feel.

Conda Douglas said...

Hi Dave,

It's great to see you back online again. And I really believe that online workshops are quite valuable. I know I've gotten a lot out of the few I've taken.

But I agree with you, there's nothing like being with other writers at a conference or a workshop. Really creates a fabulous energy.