I went to my first writing workshop tonight. Yes, I call myself a writer and I write every day and have never been to a writing workshop or conference or write-in or ANYTHING before tonight. Unfortunately for the fabulous Vince Tuckwood who ran the Writers (UN)Blocked Workshop, I was one of only four people who attended, but fortunately for me and the three others, we got lots of his time and attention and personal feedback.
The idea of Vince’s workshop was to teach us ways around writer’s block. The thing is, I don’t ever feel like I’ve really had what I used to think was writer’s block. I never feel like I run out of ideas, I never usually get to a point in a story I’m writing and stop because I don’t know where to go. My problem, my block, comes after the story is finished. I can write whole novels, loads of them, but once they are finished I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t know where to begin a rewrite and revising, because even though I know first drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect, I write them as perfectly as I can. What I write is usually exactly what I want to say and publish, and when I get to the end of a book I am writing I am at a loss for how to make it better because I feel like I have already done the very best work I can on that story.
I wish I had taken notes during the workshop, on the slides that Vince made and provided for us, but I didn’t – I just listened instead, so I am having a hard time now remembering the specifics of his ideas, but what I took away from the workshop is this:
Writer’s block isn’t about not knowing where to go in a story. Writer’s block is just not writing.
Writer’s block doesn’t have to do with a lack of inspiration or creativity or talent, it’s about lack of motivation.
Also, writer’s block happens when we don’t have the right motivations for writing.
I get that. I get all of that.
I’m never going to be a good writer if I don’t have confidence in myself. I am never going to be what is in my opinion of a successful writer if I don’t motivate myself daily to put in the work and actually do the writing. I am never going to be a writer just because I want to be able to say that I’m a writer. That is another big thing I have to come to terms with.
Here it is: I AM A WRITER. I don’t care what YOU think about that. To me, being a writer doesn’t mean I’ve published anything. I’m a writer because it’s what I do, every single damn day of my life, because it’s what I want to do more than anything else except maybe read, but they go hand in hand.
I don’t have to go through the mental internal struggle of Ehrmahgherd I want to be a writer, waaaaah. I am a writer.
But I want to make a living writing. That is a whole other ballgame.
So yes, this workshop was brief and I went into thinking I had nothing to learn because I don’t get writer’s block and I never have a problem with not writing. Still, I took away from the workshop some very unexpected things. Some very unexpected and necessary realizations.
Basically, I am already doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life. I just need to do it like it’s my job UNTIL IT IS MY JOB.
I need to find within myself, every day, the motivation to get things done.
I need to stop being a lazy ass and watching so much Netflix.
I need to believe that I can actually do this so that I can actually do it.
Also, I need to find a writing group. A SERIOUS writing group with people who are as serious as I am about writing, and I need to do it soon. Or start my own if I can’t find one, whatever.
Blog readers, can you do me a favor and in a month or so check in with me and ask me how I’m doing on the writing front? I would appreciate it more than you will ever know.