My writer’s group, VIRA, held an all day workshop on Sept. 19, 2020 with Laurie Schnebly. The day was planned a long time ago — before Covid-19. Since then our border closed, so Laurie could not come in person. Instead, we did a virtual workshop using zoom. Here’s what I learned about zoom workshops.
- Commuting from one room in my house to another room in my house is really quick and easy.
- Showing up for a workshop in jeans is really comfortable.
- Seeing people only on screen is lonely — especially when many of them turn off their video.
- There is virtually no conversation between participants.
- The “chat” feature is really useful for catching up on missed information.
- A full-day workshop, even at home, is tiring. My brain was reeling by the time we signed off.
So, that’s what I learned on the technical side. On the creative side, the workshop confirmed what I already knew. Laurie is a terrific teacher. Here are some highlights from the day.
- From “Putting the Joy Back in Writing” I learned I’m not alone in finding publication can steal the joy I felt when I first put pen to paper (literally, I’m that old.)
- Determining why I write, either for myself or for others can put me back on the “joy” track and away from the “have to” track.
- Letting go of the results of writing and focusing on the process of writing frees up creativity.
- I should re-read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It is on my bookshelf.
From Braiding Your Book I picked up pointers on
- Genre Expectations and the need to fulfil those expectations for readers.
- Plot – it’s all about goals and conflict, with the love story added in for my genre.
- Plot has a shape — the writer must build hope, then dash those hopes and build them again.
- Character is the third strand in the braid.
- A character’s origin (backstory) is an invaluable aid in figuring out who your character is and why (s)he acts as (s)he does.
- A character’s belief system is key.
From Blurbs & Promotion to Suit Your Personality I learned
- I’m not the only one who is really poor at promotion because I dislike it.
- Laurie’s background is in advertising so it’s not surprising she suggests a blurb is an ad.
- Seeing promotion as an advertisement for a product makes it less intimidating than seeing it as a judgement on my worth as a human being!
As you can tell, we had a very full day. I was exhausted from listening, I can’t imagine how Laurie kept up her enthusiasm and humour all the way to the end and then took questions.
As a bonus, she held a draw and I won free admission to one of her courses. With so many wonderful choices I had to wait over the weekend until my brain had returned to full function before I made my pick. In March I’ll be taking Plotting Via Motivation. It’s one of the earliest courses on offer, so I can still take some of the later ones too.