Lessons From A Writing Workshop

"Writing is the painting of the voice."-Voltaire

A few months after starting wordsbytara.com, I attended a two-day writing workshop but in the days leading up to it, I seriously contemplated not going. Fear and doubt were having their way with me. My past attempts at surrounding myself with other writers were not successful. I was intimidated by their ability to create with words. I compared myself to them and believed I was definitely on the side of the least talented.

Writing is what I have always done since I was a child but sharing what I wrote was another matter. For many years much of my writing was for my eyes only. Even after starting my site I struggled with sharing for fear of rejection. In the early days, each piece I posted would be accompanied by a round of mental gymnastics before the publish button was pressed.

Deep within myself, I knew that if I was ever going to fully step into my writing dreams, then learning to be comfortable with sharing was a top priority. As much as staying home sounded like the best idea imaginable, being afraid and going to the workshop was the thing I needed to do.

And so I went.

The writing workshop turned out to be a wonderful experience. We wrote, shared, talked and connected; bonded by the desire to write. At the conclusion of the workshop, I was elated. I had confronted my fears and learned valuable lessons to take with me on my writing journey.

Here are some of the lessons learned:

Get centered. The facilitator began each workshop session with silence and a short meditative prayer. These tools allowed us to transition to a writer’s mindset. We were able to shift our focus and energy inward allowing us to access our thoughts, feelings and the words we would later use during the various writing exercises. Becoming centered also helped to eliminate any fear and nervousness and assisted in creating a safe space for the group of strangers who were gathered together.
Call yourself a writer. When I walked into the workshop I did not see myself as a writer. Instead, I saw myself as someone who liked to write. Over the course of the weekend, we challenged some commonly held myths surrounding what qualified someone to be able to call themselves a writer. The facilitator refuted the idea that you are only a writer if you have a book or if you have been paid for your work. We learned what made someone a writer was their desire to write and their engagement in the writing process.

Give voice to your work. Throughout the two days we completed several writing exercises; some required that our work be read quietly by members in the class. Other times we gave voice to our work by reading it aloud. This particular exercise was powerful in helping to convey our stories in a way that brought a new depth and understanding to our words.

Be vulnerable in your writing. During another exercise, we gathered in a circle and read aloud a piece we each worked on prior to the workshop. Each person then wrote down their impressions and offered constructive feedback. A common response to my essay was rooted in the idea of becoming more vulnerable in my writing. As someone who is an introvert, the idea of opening myself up was intimidating and difficult for me to even see as a possibility.

Over time I learned to embrace the important role vulnerability plays in my ability to create with words. Vulnerability allows for the presence of authenticity in my work. It enables me to connect with readers by sharing the struggles and challenges I face as a writer and as a person who is trying to live a life aligned with her purpose.

Embrace your fears. Fear was the one emotion that almost stopped me from attending the workshop in the first place. But by choosing to confront my fears, I learned the importance of embracing them as companions and as teachers on my writing journey. Fear will always be present but I have learned I can be afraid and still do the things my writing dreams require of me.

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If you are a writer who wants to explore how these five lessons can apply to your Dream Maker journey, email me at tara@wordsbytara.com to learn more about new services that will be coming soon.

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