brandietarvin (brandietarvin) wrote,

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The Workshop Experience

I have survived....

Going to an intense workshop to get your baby, your joy, the love of your life ripped to shreds by famous editors and authors is an interesting experience. Not only are you crowded in a hotel with a small group of other writers feeling as if you are under a microscope, but you find yourself hearing things you'd never expected. And not always hearing things you thought you would hear.

For instance, I just finished (literally) Viable Paradise XIII. I'm sitting at the airport on the Vineyard, ready to depart.

VP is my first professional workshop. I go in expecting to have my heart ripped out, my manuscript shredded and my ego barely hanging in by a tenuous thread. [ SIDE NOTE: Barely. That's an adverb. We're not supposed to use adverbs. Or, at least, use them only sparingly. (Another adverb. See how I do that? @=) ]  Surprisingly, it was not the horrendous, soul-numbing experience I expected it to be. I didn't get high praise, but I wasn't shattered either. The instructors and fellow writers were incredibly supportive. They pointed out issues I was already aware of (but in denial of) and gave me suggestions on how to fix things.

So I didn't get the confirmation that I am the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread. Well, that's okay. Because I did find out that I'm not the only writer who falls apart after I finish a novel. I'm not the only writer who goes through bouts of "I can't write! Nobody likes me!". I'm not the only writer who finds the publishing industry a murky morass of mystical mantras that one needs a map and lots of navigators to find the way through.

I made a lot of friends. I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot of things. Later, I will inflict my poem of the VP experience on my readers. But not while I'm sitting in the airport. All I do want to say right now is, if you are a writer and you get a chance, apply for a writers workshop. Viable Paradise is a one week experience. It will not confirm your greatest ambitions (read - obsessions) but it won't tear you apart. These instructors are there to make you BETTER than you are now. And if you're good, better will make you very good.

I will spend a lot of time digesting the things I learned. It was a good experience for me. I highly recommend it for you. And, on a final note for this post, I only have one more thing to say.

I survived. YeeHaw!

Tags: viable paradise, writers workshops, writing

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