I attended the Minnesota Writing Workshop yesterday, a 9-to-5 event with what another workshop attendee described as “four keynotes” by Chuck Sambuchino, plus a critique panel for first novel pages. What a great event! As I recommended to a few fellow writers I met there, workshops and conferences are golden for inspiration and meeting other writers who are just as excited as you are about writing.
There are so many great things about attending a workshop or conference like this, especially if the event is big enough to attract writers you’ve never met before (as opposed to a regular group or club that offers extra time or a guest speaker on occasion). Contrary to popular belief, writers are fun people! We love to talk about writing, about our projects, and about each other’s projects. Everyone is there to learn and get inspired. We love to meet other writers, learn what they do, compare notes on how they do it, and get ideas we might want to use in our own quest to become published.
I met some wonderful writers, had lunch in an Irish pub (the fish and chips at Liffey’s are tasty), and listened in awe as Chuck Sambuchino spoke for almost the entire time. I mean, how many people can speak for almost seven hours straight without going hoarse and still garner laughter at the tail end of the day? We did have an hour and a half lunch break, during which time our little group of just-acquainted writers learned about inspiration and reasons to write that go beyond letting the characters out of our head. One fellow writer had a touching story about the children’s book she wrote for her brother. Gorgeous book, beautiful illustrations, and a story that touched me in particular because of what is happening in my real life at this point. Another fellow writer works for an organization that strives to provide safe shelter to orphans worldwide.
Whenever I’ve been in a group of writers, either a couple hundred at the UW Writers’ Institute in Madison, WI, or with my Writing Sisters, there a creative energy that coalesces, as though it isn’t just the writers of the group but their Muses as well that attend the gathering. I find myself longing to sit down and write after these events before that creative energy dissipates. My Writing Sisters have a particularly powerful effect in that department. It’s like the very act of coming together to cultivate our craft charges or recharges our muses.
So much great information was presented yesterday that I found myself just trying to keep up with the info dump. Now to wrangle all that great creative energy into my writing. If any writers out there want to recharge and learn something to boot, writing workshops and conferences are an excellent venue. I wish I could attend more of them, but the dollar only stretches so far. Penciling in next year’s Writers’ Institute in Madison on my calendar!