I recently attended my first creative writing workshop and I was sold on the experience! Because I like to share my thoughts write, blog, and live as a writertoday I bring you the takeaways from the creative writing workshop and the key benefits of the writing workshop.
If you want to deepen your writing experience, attending just one writing workshop can teach you a lot about the craft of writing. You will discover new perspectives and meet in an atmosphere where everyone is passionate about the written word.
7 major benefits of attending a writing workshop
The benefits of a writing workshop are many, and even if you only attend a few writing workshops spontaneously, you will still benefit from joining the engaging experience that a writing workshop offers.
1. You will meet like-minded writers
Meeting fellow writers and being able to talk about writing with people who understand on some level how I feel about writing has been one of the best benefits of attending a writing workshop for me. I felt comfortable talking about why and how I write, and was excited to connect with writers who feel the same way about the magic of the written word.
Most writers are also happy to share their tips and tricks. It was enlightening to hear about where my fellow participants are in their writing journeys, the headaches of dealing with agents and publishers, and their creative visions and dreams.
2. You will discover your strengths and weaknesses
In a writing workshop I attended, we spent the first hour discussing the topic of the writing workshop (Syncing pop culture into our stories), as well as reading aloud the works that each attendee brought to the class. As I shared my feedback on the writing of my fellow attendees and listened to feedback on my piece, it was amazing to take a fresh look at my writing style and see where I sometimes fail and where I am consistently strong.
3. You will learn to criticize and accept
This naturally leads me to criticize. I’m not very good at taking criticism, but I’ve learned to welcome it because it’s one of the best ways I learn as a writer. Critiques are one of the main benefits of writing seminars because feedback helps you grow.
Each writer in the writing workshop had different views on how a piece should be structured, voiced, and expressed. I’ve enjoyed giving hopefully helpful feedback and recording feedback I’ve received that I’ve found helpful.
As you ease into the experience of attending a writing workshop, whether virtually or in person, you’ll become more adept at delivering direct criticism respectfully and helpfully. You’ll also learn how to analyze the feedback you receive, get useful advice, and avoid what I call technical problems.
4. You can try your hand at a new writing technique
I worked through three writing prompts at the workshop I attended. After each prompt, the class wrote on the go for five minutes and then shared what they had written out loud. It was amazing to see what five minutes of freewriting could produce and to force myself to try my hand at writing something I wouldn’t normally reveal.
While I usually write fiction and poetry, I wrote a short opinion and reflection about my personal life. I experimented with metaphors and drew on pop culture cues to inform and connect my pieces.
Here’s a short sample of a piece I wrote in five minutes during a writing workshop:
I saw Zendaya cut herself cooking the other day. She shared the moment on her Instagram stories, and Buzzfeed quickly picked it up in a cheesy post that ran about two hundred words along with grainy photos.
I saw this story trending on Twitter and read it, convinced that Zendaya had lost a finger or worse! My heart sank when I saw that she had just cut herself.
People like me casually cook for our loved ones every day. No one exposes our stories to the world, but millions joined Zendaya’s happy coincidence to commiserate and smile at her silly face as she held up her bandaged finger to the camera.
I find it funny that a woman admired by many can’t even cook.
Normally I wouldn’t have written this piece, but the main benefit of all writing workshops is that they push you out of your comfort zone. When you write something you don’t know, you end up calling on all your skills and experiences to help you get the most out of an unfamiliar situation. It only serves to make you a the best writer.
Workshops on 3 ways of writing will benefit you as a person
Writing workshops benefit more than just you as a writer! They also help you grow as a person. Here are three ways attending a writing workshop will benefit you as a person.
5. You will build confidence
I’m camera and crowd shy. It’s hard for me to share my thoughts with strangers, and even harder to share them out loud.
As my writing workshop progressed, I soon felt at ease and comfortable talking to strangers about a sensitive topic: writing. I have become more confident in sharing my thoughts and reading my work out loud, and I have no doubt that this confidence will not die overnight.
6. You will benefit from learning from more experienced writers
The teacher and writers who attended the workshop with me were representatives of different layers of the writing journey. I learned from the feedback of writers who pursue creativity as a hobby, writers who use creative writing to heal their trauma, and writers who have published books.
It’s helpful to see where other writers are at and learn from their mistakes, headaches, and “what we wish we’d known ahead of time” conversations. You can save all these valuable tips for future reference.
7. You will have incredible fun!
All the other benefits of writing workshops aside, if your group creates a fun, engaging activity, you’re in for a great time. I loved every minute of my experience and was sorry when it was over.
7 things to ask yourself when planning a writing workshop
I would never consider taking a writing workshop that didn’t interest me. For example, while the technical writing workshop is undoubtedly a useful experience, I have no interest in technical writing and will certainly not be able to get the most out of my experience.
Sign up only for workshops where you can bring your best literary self. Here are seven questions to ask yourself when considering signing up for a writing workshop.
- Am I interested in the topic of the writing workshop?
- Does the workshop leader have relevant writing experience and achievements?
- Is the workshop held in a preferred setting (eg online or in person)?
- If the seminar is held in person, can I drive to the meeting place?
- Does the workshop time fit? my schedule?
- Can I afford a workshop?
- Am I interested enough in this workshop to bring my best literary self to the experience?
It is very important to choose writing workshops where you can honestly answer “yes” to all of the above questions, otherwise you are potentially wasting your time and money and potentially losing the atmosphere of the workshop.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t experiment with different types of writing workshops; you must! If you’re going to take a chance or go out on a limb, the only question I think you really need to ask yourself is, “Did this workshop interest me enough to bring my best literary self to the experience?”. If the answer is yes, dare!
I hope this post has sufficiently covered why attending a writing workshop can be a great way to improve your writing, and answered any questions or concerns you may have had about writing workshops. I had a great time and I can’t wait to start my college writing!
Have you ever taken a writing workshop? Have you ever taught a writing workshop? What was your most memorable writing workshop experience today? Tell me below!