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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jump-start Your Writing: How Workshops Can Motivate

I recently took my car in to have the oil changed and have the 25,000-mile check. Having regular service on your car can make it run better and last longer. It can also help prevent future problems. Now maybe you're wondering why I'm talking about servicing automobiles on a blog that is supposed to be about writing.

Sometimes a writer needs maintenance, too. How can a writer maintain the ability to get started on a new project? We've had a lot of good advice so far this month about getting started, and one way can be through workshops or conferences. How many of you have gone to a workshop or conference and come away ready to write? The workshop has put your motivation in high gear. That's what I want to talk about today.

Workshops of all sorts are available on line or in person. Conferences can have a variety of workshops on different subjects, or you may prefer a one-day workshop that covers one topic in depth. Either way the opportunity to gain information about writing and to interact with other writers can boost your desire to dig in and get started on the story that's been burning in your head. Not only do workshops motivate, they can also give you the tools you need to make that motivation work for you.

Whether it is a conference that lasts several days and has multiple workshops or a one-day workshop that exhausts one subject, you may feel overwhelmed with the information. Just this past weekend, I attended a Donald Maass workshop. I came away with pages and pages of notes and some actual passages that I plugged into my current proposal as soon as I got home. But immediately after the workshop, a writer friend who had attended the workshop with me asked me what was the most important thing I had learned. As I hesitated to come up with an answer, she mentioned that she always went into a workshop or conference with the goal of taking away one thing that would help her writing. That way she didn't feel overloaded with information. I thought that was a good way to approach workshops. Make it your goal to come away with one piece of advice that will make your writing rise to a new level.

Just as cars need maintenance, so do writers. Do your writing life a favor and rejuvenate it by attending a conference or workshop.

Below I've listed the dates, locations, and Web sites for more information on some upcoming opportunities to give your writing a jump start.

One-day Writers' Workshop with Bob Mayer
February 9, 2008
Hilton Atlanta Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia

Written in the Stars 2008
Clarion Hotel, Shreveport, LA
March 1, 2008

Empowering Characters' Emotions
Comfort Inn & Suites Airport, Syracuse, NY
March 28-29, 2008

Southern Lights
Jacksonville Marriott, Jacksonville, FL
March 28-29, 2008

Dreamin' in Dallas
Southfork Hotel, Plano, TX
April 4-5, 2008

Let Your Imagination Take Flight
Crowne Plaza, Natick, MA
April 11-12, 2008

Silken Sands
Hampton Inn Beach Resort, Pensacola Beach, FL
April 11-13, 2008

Chicago North Spring Fling
Hyatt, Deerfield, IL
April 25-26, 2008

Romance--Bridging the World
RWA's 28th Annual National Conference
San Francisco, CA
July 30-August 2, 2008


At 10:24 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Thanks, Merrillee. I always come home from chapter meetings and conferences feeling upbeat and ready to write.

Thanks for the great list of conference suggestions.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Great conference list!

I think the social connection you make at conferences is really important. No one in my day job knows I write, and they wouldn't be supportive if they did, they would just see it as something I'm working towards that would mean abandoning them and making their job harder.

To make that connection with people who totally get what you're about is the ultimate motivator, even for a homebody like me.

At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Cheryl said...

Hi Merrillee,

I completely agree that workshops and conferences are a great way to charge up your inspiration. I’ve been attending the Southern Lights Conference for the last several years and I can’t count the number of the workshops there that have improved my writing, taught me something I didn’t know or cemented an idea I’d been struggling to master. But more than anything, it is the energy boost I gain from being in the company of other enthusiastic writers that keeps me going back.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Cheryl Norman said...

Southern Lights in Jacksonville is one of the best values in conferences. The weather is always mild in late March, and the conference is packed with great workshops. I've already registered again for this years!

Cheryl Norman

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

That is so true about connecting with people who get what we're doing. Sharing information and time with other writers is a great boost.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Gillian, I totally agree with you about the joys of being with other writers. I can still remember my excitement to discover that other people really had stories running around in their heads, not only me!

Gee, the Southern Lights conference sounds great!

Our Washington Romance Writers Retreat always has the effect of rejuvenating me. In fact, our recent WRW workshop given by Emilie Richards on how to fix a manuscript that's a mess, gave me the answer to how to end my current WIP! You're never too old or too experienced to learn something helpful and new.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

This is something I should probably do more of. Thanks for the great resource, Merrillee!

At 3:01 PM, Blogger doglady said...

I can identify completely with what my buddy, Gillian, is saying. There is not a soul at my day job who "gets" what I am doing with my writing. I think we all need that "no you aren't crazy just because people talk to you in your head" connection. I am so very fortunate in my online CPs - Gillian, Erin, Marianne, and Terry Jo. My hometown group only meets once a month, but they help me not to feel so isolated - thanks Jean (fantasy) Kathleen (YA) Tammy (chick lit) and Audrey (romantic suspense and paranormal). I have been to some workshops sponsored by Southern Magic (Birmingham RWA) and they are always a great boost to my motivation. I have also take several online workshops that did the same. Even author luncheons serve as a source of inspiration. I just have to keep taking in motivation and inspiration (like the kind the Posse provides!) on a daily basis so I can get where I am going!

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Judy Thomas said...

I've only recently gotten "serious" about my writing and submitting, so I'm looking forward to Southern Lights as my first writer's conference. Thanks for the list of the others as well!


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