Sunday, 25 October 2015

New Thing October - Writing Workshop

Continuing with my monthly challenge of trying something new, I chose to sign up for a writer's workshop for my something new October.  I have been writing this blog for a few years now and I enjoy it, but the feedback I get is limited which isn't always a bad thing, especially if the feedback isn't positive.  With my blog I am writing about my life or fitness or recipes.  It is all true, non-fiction material.  So I decided to test myself by taking a creative writing course.

I have been playing around with fiction writing for a while but aside from reading a few paragraphs to my husband a year ago, I haven't shared any of my work with anyone.  I knew that I would have to read my work out loud to the group when I signed up for this course - which terrified me.  But I didn't really dwell on that aspect of the course until the time came to share.

This workshop was better than I had anticipated.  The instructor has had years of teaching experience and he is a published author as well.  He was inviting and created a warm atmosphere for everyone in the group.  It was so interesting to me that there was such a variety of people taking the course and the differences in everyone's chosen genre of writing.  There were fantasy/science fiction writers, general fiction, personal memoirs, mystery and even a woman who was writing a harlequin romance style novel.  

Out of all of the work we did, the most interesting part of the course was when we shared our writing.  We had been given the same writing prompt with a 20 minute limit to write. It was amazing how each story that everyone chose to write were so vastly different.  All of the pieces were enjoyable, I was drawn into the person's reading, even the ones in a genre that I would not normally chose to read.  Sharing our work and receiving the feed back from others was such a rewarding experience.  

What I found interesting was the approach that each of us took when it was time to share our writing.  Everyone assumed that their work was sub par to everyone else's.  This included me.  I was so nervous about reading my piece and I ended up going last.  My reading followed a piece that a woman who had written so well, I thought was based on real life experience.  Her writing was that emotionally charged.  

I was quite nervous to share.  To say that I felt my work was inadequate was an understatement   But surprisingly to me, the group laughed at the funny parts and the end which I had intended to be shocking they gasped.  I had drawn them in with my words and that was both reassuring and gratifying. 

I will definitely be exploring writing a bit further.  I know that I write here and it is wonderful to share but receiving immediate feedback was great.  There are many areas where I can stand to improve and the criticism that comes from a group reading will only help me improve.  Kind assessment is one of the benefits of presenting to individuals in a writing group setting, everyone is in the same boat with the same level of exposure.   We all understand the vulnerability you feel when sharing your writing and are likely to make constructive suggestions. 

I am even going to try something a little more daring this week.  Our instructor gave everyone in the course a homework assignment to have something published this week and I am going to try it.  Technically this may qualify for my new thing November but we'll have to see if I'm successful  you never know if you don't try.  So here is to new challenges and personal growth!

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