Well who’d a thunk? I just finished my first online writing workshop with Writing.ie which was (a) free of charge and (b) brilliant! Hosted by Vanessa O’Loughlin of writing.ie, the workshop featured top selling authors Monica McInerney, Sinead Moriarty and Paul Carson at an undisclosed location in Dublin. Actually it was disclosed, but that’s neither here nor there.
Firstly, anything I can achieve from the comfort of my own office is a plus in my book, so we were on a winner from the start. Secondly, you forget how wonderful it is to just be in a group conversation about books, writing and the unfathomable world of publishing. It was a great opportunity to tweet questions to writers who have been where you are. I asked the authors whether or not they would have kept on writing, even if they hadn’t received a publishing deal. They answered yes, proving my own theory that no matter how much the odds may seem stacked against you, if you like writing, you just do it anyway.
Then while you’re at it, read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’.
Practice using the 5 senses in your writing (eg. What can I hear? What can I taste?).
A great opening line can grab your reader’s attention.
Finally, show don’t tell, that old chestnut that can be so hard to crack! (ahem) Monica suggested turning the pictures in your head into words that create pictures in the reader’s mind.
So even if you’ve done your research and read all the how-to books, it’s great to participate in a refresher course for the motivation alone. Writing can be such a solitary experience, so it’s great to ‘meet up’ with other writers for advice and support. It has definitely given me a kick-start to begin playing around with some new ideas and the curiosity to experiment with writing exercises and tricks.
Online workshops – it’s the future people!