WORKSHOPS AND MASTERCLASSES

Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself. – Truman Capote.

I’m not sure about you but I was not born knowing these laws. I had to learn them. How? Well, it’s true that the best way to learn writing is to sit down and write. But I also believe that learning with other people is much more comforting, which is why enrolling in a workshop or masterclass could be one of your writing goals next year.

A good workshop will push you out of your comfort zone, sometimes by having your work critiqued or by making you write within a time limit. It will also get you connected with other writers, and you might find new friends to share your writing with and to support you when you’re feeling low about your work.

If you’re a beginner, I cannot recommend writing classes enough. Google your local writers centre, tafe or university and search for the courses available. Find one that interests you and makes you excited. Don’t worry that you don’t know what you’re doing, if it’s a beginner’s course then you will not be alone.

If you’re an emerging writer, try a more specific class to fill the gaps in your technique. Maybe you are nervous about switching genres, or your writing group keeps nagging you about your dangling participles and you have no idea what they are talking about. Or perhaps one of your favourite authors is holding a masterclass and you can learn about their writing process.

If you’ve already taken a few classes, then maybe you need some solitude to implement what you have learned. Or have you become too comfortable by learning from the same teacher or the same topic?

For those of you in Queensland, check out the Queensland Writers Centre website for their programs from February to June 2010.

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