Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Why join a writer's group or a writing workshop?

Nicole forwarded me this email from workshop moderator Kat Smith, and it felt relevant to post a piece of her message for our blog readers. If you're still on the fence about joining or participating in a writing workshop of any kind, perhaps her words will sway you:
Young musicians practice daily. A singer doesn't begin with an aria. She starts by warming up her vocal cords. A pianist practices his scales every day from a young age. An athlete doesn't begin with a triathlon. He spends hours lifting weights, stretching, building the muscle mass and flexibility that will support the feats he intends to achieve.

Writing is no different. We become writers with daily practice. Getting in touch with our unique voices. Writing fast, writing free. Progress may be so incremental as to be unnoticeable, just as a pianist doesn't go from chopsticks to Chopin. Some days you'll hate what you write. But one day, something astonishing will come pouring out of you and you'll wonder where the hell it came from.

It came from the 1,183 writing exercises that preceded it. Exercises where you trained your mind to focus, where you learned to trust your voice, to step out of your way, to let it flow. Practice writing like practicing scales, may not seem very glamorous. Bring your passion to it anyway. That's the work of an artist.
Kat also included the following video in her message. It features Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Boys, giving his take on consistent writing:

It seems as though a constant flow of writing is the best way to find your best work. Even small exercises on a consistent basis can help keep you in good practice. I myself participate in's writer's groups, and I completely agree with what Kat and Ray have said. Writer's groups and writing workshops provide their members the opportunity to practice their skill in an open forum with other writers just as dedicated to their craft. So I ask you this: do you practice your writing on a consistent basis? Do you think that this "fine tuning" and practicing approach can be effective?


Poetry of the Day said...

this is convincing

- <3 Famous Poetry about life

Sarah Allen said...

Great post. Wonderful advice, and Bradbury is a wonderful resource.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)