So, I’m going to do a workshop. A creative writing workshop.
Oh, and when I say ‘do’ I don’t mean . . . you know . . . ‘do‘ a workshop. I’m not going to shoot it, or shag it, I’m going to stand at the front and lead others in writing exercises and talk about writery things. And this is something I never imagined myself doing.
I’ve attended quite a lot of workshops. I have a Masters in Creative Writing which involved quite a few. I even had to show that I could organise, plan and run a workshop, so I’m not too much of a stranger to this. However, (and don’t shoot me) I really do believe that you can’t teach people to write.
Wait, let me explain; I do think there is value in talking about style and form, about character development and plot development and all the other stuff. I also believe there’s value to be had in going through the kinds of exercises workshops advocate. Whether you write only for personal pleasure, with the goal of being published, or as a published author, all of these things can help a writer to be better at what they do. But if you’re not a story teller, then you’re not a story teller, and no amount of workshops will change that. Then again, there’s nothing to stop you from having a go, having some fun – you never know, you really might have a writer hiding in you.
Anyway, this is an interesting experience for me, because I’ve never analysed (that’s such an awful word when you break it up) the way I write. I just . . . write. I’m not a heavy plotter. I don’t really plan much more than making a few notes. I get an idea, I have the barebones of a character, and when I start writing, the characters go their own way and take over. Y’know, I sometimes interfere, throw something unpleasant in their path, give them a treat and then take it away, but other than that, those guys are pretty much on their own.
But now I am giving it some thought and it’s confirming to me how much I love writing (and reading) and I’m really starting to look forward to this workshop.
But the part I’m most excited about? The bit where I make everyone squirm when I put them on the spot and ask them to ‘tell us ‘a little bit about yourself’.
That’s gonna be great.