Doing the Writer’s Intensive last week was awesome. I’ve tried to explain to people what the best parts were, but there was a lot that was really great. Perhaps bullet points would help, or an ordered list… ooh… ordered list. Ok.
- Just sitting down and writing. So often, I don’t think of writing because there’s just so much other stuff that I should be doing, or that I’m busily ignoring by playing Frontierville. Having that time carved out each day where there would be writing was very helpful.
- Being with other writers. We were all women from different backgrounds and places in our lives and we all had amazing things to say about ourselves and our surroundings. Writing, by nature, is a very solitary pursuit (coffee shops notwithstanding) and writers spend a lot of time in their own heads, so it’s great to talk with other people who think that’s normal…or at least, not totally strange.
- Learning that not all writing needs to be a novel ready to publish and sell. I knew this theoretically, but often didn’t want to bother starting unless I was reaching for some goal that was FINAL AND INCREDIBLE AND AMAZING TO BE SHARED WITH THE WORLD! Writing in a journal, even a nature journal where I’m not exploring my existential, innermost thoughts is a good way to strengthen the “writer muscle” and get me in the habit of putting words on paper. Nora Roberts (or Jodi Picoult) said “You can’t edit a blank page” and that’s something I need to keep remembering. Get the words out, and eventually good ones will come out.
- Receiving writing prompts. This follows #3 because it helped me to write throwaway pieces, which put no pressure on me. It also helps because it gave me some great ideas for people and stories that may be written in the future, or used to build other stories. It was also awesome to listen to how other people took the writing prompts and made them their own. Some people did fiction, others did non-fiction or descriptive essays, while others did poetry for the same prompts. It was fascinating to see the different ways that people took them.
- Getting your writing heard. If there’s much better than a stunned pause after reading some tough writing out loud, I’m not sure what it is. Unless it’s laughter after something that you thought was hilarious in your head, but weren’t sure if it translated into humour with other people. Or seeing nods around the circle and knowing that your truth was transmitted to another person. Or being told in the elevator on the way to class that someone really likes your writing and thinks it’s really powerful. *thumbs up*
Overall, it was a great experience. There’s another Writer’s Intensive during the summer which I will probably take, as well as some weekly meet ups through the spring into the summer. It keeps my writing in the front of my mind and gets me to do some work while real life is happening around me.
If you’re interested in reading any of the writing, I’ll be publishing it at http://www.randomsynapses.ca and I can be followed on Twitter @randomsynapses to get tweets when I update.