All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.
Friday, October 11, 2019
Editing and Workshops
To actually address their questions, I take them on in a very matter-of-fact way. The first part, "Why so many?" gets the peloton response. The second part is far more important, so I approach it piece-by-piece. Firstly, I do not write so much that I need eight nights a month to review all that I have created - I should be so prolific. Workshops are not strictly to review our own work. That's an important function, but not the only one, which leads to the second part about needing that much help.
Do I need that much help? Yes. Yes I do. Every writer always needs help, and from several directions. However, a workshop provides a special kind of help - it provides other examples of writing, and writers trying to turn thoughts into stories. This is a special kind of help, because it gives us the opportunity to be an editor and a writer at the same time.
At many workshops, someone will present a piece, read it aloud, and the members offer critiques through either formal review, comments, written markups, or some combination of methods. This allows us to focus on editing from the larger perspective. Maybe the writer wants us to fix the punctuation, maybe they are looking for tips on structure. We become a consumer of the information and an analyst of its little pieces. In doing that, we benefit from dissecting and exploring writing, which helps as I discussed in a previous post, "Learning From Editing."
However, workshops often have times where a writer contributes a piece and explains what they are trying to accomplish and the struggles they have in achieving that. At this point, the peloton forms and everyone helps improve the piece. We do this by being editors and writers, by thinking how we would approach the challenge, how we would write this, and how their writing fares in accomplishing this. We explain our process as a writer, and offer ideas to the person. It becomes a brainstorming session, but everyone benefits from the exercise.
So do I recommend workshops? Yes I do. Why? Because as writers, we benefit on several levels from working with other people riding along our path, and we are reminded that we are never alone in developing our process.