Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I spent part of last weekend in the company of nine fellow writers and author Zelda Lockhart. We got to the heart of things - our hearts - and learned ways to apply it to our own work.
"You need to quit going to workshops and write that book," my sister told me the other day.
I am writing my book and my stories, but I also love the stimulation that I get from this time spent with others.
The problem is that often we receive conflicting information. One teacher says learning the craft is the most important; another says, "The hell with craft." One teacher says a flashback can only be presented in real time while the next one says that is ridiculous.
The same goes for fellow writers and their critiques. One person might love that I said, "O my Luve's like a red, red rose," while the person sitting beside her says it's too cliched. One character may seem flat to a person but the same character may touch a chord that rings so true to another.
There are a million books written on writing. Some call for outlines, some call for prompt writing, one book calls for reading similar writing while another says steer clear of it.
So, I guess the reason I continue on with these workshops is complicated. I choose the techniques that work for me. I garner inspiration from hearing other people read their writing. I get valuable feedback both from the leader and the participants.
In the end, what it all boils down to is that I must take all that I learn, put myself in a chair, grab a computer or pencil and paper, and write.
Oddly, my sister is a workshop leader. Hers are about getting to the heart of one's relationship with oneself and others. Looking at what's preventing us from having our most wonderful life. People come back again and again because they need a little tune-up. If you substitute "life" for "writing" that's why I continue to participate in the writing weekends. To get to the heart of my characters and move out of the way everything that is keeping me from my best writing. And that process can always use a tune-up.