Aug 21, 2011

5 Benefits of a Writers Workshop

Merimbula, a great place to relax and write.

This weekend we drove down to Merimbula (coastal town popular during whale-watching season). While visiting the in-laws, I also got to take part in a writers workshop run by Writers of the Far South Coast. I met some wonderful writers and am always in awe of how people from such different backgrounds and lifestyles can come together with a common interest and goal.

I know I could spend the time that I travel around participating in workshops actually writing, or doing writing exercises from a book or the web. But I get a lot out of writing workshops.

So why take part in workshops?
  1. Learn - This gives me an opportunity to hear from published authors and writers with different experiences from myself. I learn a lot from the speaker and the other participants.
  2. Reminder - Even if I've been going through a writing lull, hanging out with other writers reminds me to get back into my WIP.
  3. Sharing - It's a good environment to bounce your ideas of other writers and see if they can help you smooth out any wrinkles in your current story.
  4. Socialise - You are all passionate about the same thing, writing is a great thing to have in common.
  5. Push your boundaries - This is my favourite reason. During a workshop I will take part in exercises I might otherwise shy away from because I think they're too hard or outside my comfort zone. You are pushed to perform when you take part in a workshop. For example, in this workshop we were asked to write a Haiku. I'm not a big fan of writing poetry and even less of writing haikus, so I would never have tried this if I wasn't in the workshop. We were asked to continue from the line 'For deliciousness'. Here's my attempt:
For deliciousness
try pieces of lemonade
sprinkled in the sun

We also did some sensory invoking exercises, worked on characterisation details and setting's mood. I came away with a new scene for my mystery novel The Warracknabeal Kids, as well as a small inspiration that promises to ferment into a new story idea. Best of all, I made some new writerly friends.


  1. I like no. 4. And with these sorts of conferences, I tend to get a lot from listening to the keynote speaker.

    Glad you got so much out of it-- plus the setting is idyllic!

  2. Charmaine aka PWWA (Professional Writing Workshop Attendee/Addict). But you sure pick the places and sift out some extremely useful facts. I like #5. Same reasons as you. Nice Haiku too.:-) Dim

  3. Should be back on track. Cheers for heads up. Dimity

  4. No Probs Dimity, now everyone can click on your name and get to visit your fun and inspiring blog :)

  5. I love workshops. They're usually always great.

  6. Good for you! I'll have to keep on the lookout for workshops in my neck of the woods (Central California). Unless they are on the coast or up in the mountains, the view won't be as lovely as the photo that you posted, however.


  7. Wow, that sounds amazing. I would love to go someday.

  8. Never been to one of these workshop/conferfences. Sounds like a rewarding experience. Plus the view doesn't look too bad.

    Moody Writing

  9. Sounds nice! I have never participated in a writer's workshop but it sounds fun and inspirational.

  10. I think your Haiku is great. :) Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  11. I like your take on deliciousness. Pieces of lemonade sprinkled in the sun is gorgeous imagery. We can learn so much from each other.


  12. Quoted for truth! There is nothing that lights a fire under my bum like attending conference. Just being around writers makes me want to kick it up a notch.

  13. The SCBWI in New Jersey has the best workshops several times a year. They're one-on-one mentoring workshops, which means you receive a critique of your first 30 pages from a professional editor or agent. There are also critique groups. I've received helpful feedback and met some great people there.

  14. I wish I had half your passion for writing. Maybe I would finish something.

  15. Oh, I love Merimbula. Whenever I travel down the coast I stop there.