Is it worth attending a writing workshop?

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This is a question I’m often asked by new writers who wonder if there are any benefits from having writing tuition. Whilst I agree to a certain extent that writers are born not taught, courses and workshops can help improve writing skills. As a writing tutor I try to pass on tips and skills that I’ve used over the years, and wish I’d known when I first started out, so my students can avoid the mistake I made early in my writing career. Other benefits from attending a writing course or workshop are:

1) Socialising

Don’t underestimate this. Writing is a solitary affair, it’s just you, your notebook and pen or computer screen. Attending a writing course or workshop brings you into contact with like-minded people who you can share your struggles with, pick up tips on beating writer’s block, brainstorm ideas and get valuable feedback on your work-in-progress.

2) Motivation

Attending a writing course or workshop could actually be the motivation you need to start writing that story you’ve been thinking about for years, or to finish the one you’ve started.

3) Inspiration

Talking to other writers, discussing books, thinking about story plots and doing writing exercises can get your creative mind working and provide inspiration for story ideas. I attended a writing workshop about 18 months ago (yes, even published writers find attending writing workshops beneficial) and during one of the writing exercises I got an idea for a book that I really want to write – when I’ve finished the two I’m working on at the moment!

4) Time

Most new writers struggle to find time to actually write. Attending a writing course or workshop means you take time out from your daily life to concentrate on writing. It gives you chance to focus on your craft, to explore and polish it, to discuss pitfall and drawbacks, ideas, hopes and inspirations with other writers.

5) Support

When you’re struggling with an idea or have just had your story rejected it’s great to have the support of other writers who are going through the same thing. Your writing tutor and group will help you pick yourself up, dust yourself down and have the confidence to believe in yourself and carry on writing.

6) Commitment

Committing yourself to attending a regular writing class or workshop means that you’re committing yourself to your writing. You’re taking yourself seriously as a writer and are prepared to put in the time and effort to help achieve this. You’re acknowledging that you want to write and taking steps to make that dream come true.

So if there’s a writing class or workshop near you, go along and join in the fun. You might even get that story finished!

 

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