I did it.
After spending the last six years learning how to write fiction, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a writer’s workshop in October. Signing up for a workshop may seem like no big deal to some of you veterans out there, but for me this was a major step forward.
I’ve toyed with the idea of attending writer’s conferences over the past few years, but never felt I could justify the time and expense this would entail, especially since I thought my writing skills were still too raw to properly benefit from the experience. This workshop, however, seemed to fit the bill. It’s an intensive two day course (Friday and Saturday), so I only have to miss one day of work. It’s only five hours away by car. And it’s run by David Farland, whose blog I follow religiously.
As it turned out, the decision was a bit more difficult than I expected. After consulting with my wife to make sure she was on board with this the idea (she’s very supportive, BTW), I decided I would sign up for the course the next day. Unfortunately, the next day turned out to be one of those down days that strike writers every so often. I’d gone back to one of my earlier chapters for some light editing and was horrified to discover how sophomoric the words sounded. And try as I might, I couldn’t think of any way to improve the wording. I know I’ll never be great with words—I’m just not wired for it—but I’d thought my writing had progressed beyond what was staring me in the face. And to top it off, I read the first chapter from another author’s book and was blown away by how smoothly the words flowed. And it was her debut book! Arggg! Suddenly, I began to wonder if this whole writing thing was just a silly pipedream.
So when I sat down in front of the computer that evening to sign up for the course, I got cold feet and walked away. Up to now I’ve treated writing as something approaching a hobby—one I’ve worked very hard on, mind you—but still a hobby. If I never became a published author, my life wouldn’t be over. I’d still have my day job. I’d still have made lots of writer friends. And I could still dream about what might have been. But spending money on a writing workshop meant I was officially branding my writing as more than just a hobby. It’s not as though I haven’t spent money on craft books and SCBWI memberships, but this would be ratcheting my commitment up a notch. And if turned out that this was a pipe dream after all, that my writing skills would never progress to the required levels, then spending money on this workshop would be like throwing it away.
So I crept off to a quiet spot in the house and pondered how my MC would handle the situation. About thirty minutes later, I marched back to the computer and signed up for the course.
Ha! Take that, muse! The ball’s in your court now.