Doing The Groundwork: Why Workshops Are Necessary

To date, I have spoken at length about what it means to attend a writing retreat. I understand, though, not everyone is able to attend on of these. I mean it is a pandemic on top of everything else! But, there is a high chance, dear Oracle, budding/indie writer that you can attend a workshop! And here are some reasons why you should:

1. Cost. Depending on the length of the workshop, topic and genre, it may be entirely more affordable and feasible to attend a workshop than a retreat. If you can spend $100 on an hour workshop than $300 on a retreat–where you may sleep rather than write!–spend less money.

2. Location. It’s the pandemic! Not a lot of people are traveling for these types of artistic ventures. But, there may be a writers’ workshop that you can be apart of that meets locally or virtually! There as a writer’s workshop that I used to attend that was hosted by my girl Amanda Wells that met once a month! In her space, she offered snacks, gave a space to write and a place to just decompress to write! And it was free! Look for these types of supportive places in your city. Social media is a great place to look (Facebook, especially!).

3. Learning and Networking. Sometimes writing can feel as if you are atop a mountain with no way to get to the village below. Workshops foster writing in community! Workshops encourage writers to bounce ideas off one another, gather support and even become aware of those that write the same genre as you do!

Don’t dismiss the opportunity to build out your writing network! You would will never know whom you might need, whom might need you and what opportunities may be garnered because you were at the right place at the right time.

#HappyWriting!

Writing In Community–Why Retreats Are Needed (The Pros)

Writing in community is important. Writing can be isolating and not having a source of support can be quite sad! Writing retreats are like mini-vacations for writers! They provide a place free of daily distractions in order to allow writers to focus. These places are special because they allow writers to focus on the work they want to write, rather than the things people believe you should be writing about!

Normally these retreats are over a weekend, with the expectation that if you were in an environment that was stripped of all distractions, then you would not have any excuses as to why you ‘don’t have time to write.’

Sometimes these retreats have workshops, breakout sessions, and have spaces to read aloud what you have been working on prior to the availability of this space, or what you have started since you have been there. The goal is to foster a space by which you can write, and write as much as you can in the time given!

Look into doing a retreat at least once! There are those whom are willing to open their home and spaces to foster writers for the work they must do. Will all these retreats be for every writer? Will they all be free? No, and neither should they be! Going on a retreat means you are investing in yourself as a writer, your writing time, as well as the project you are working on!

There is nothing particularly magical about writing retreats. They are a tool like any other in your writing repertoire! Like any tool in the hand of one eager to use it, all matter of good things can be created from it! So, go forth and create! Go forth and build out your writing/writer’s network! But above all, go forth and write!

Retreat Or…Retreat?

 I am both a fan and suspicious of writing retreats. I believe in the right context these types of investments are invaluable. As a writer, you must understand that is only one component of your hobby or career. The mechanics and development of your skills as a writer are totally dependent on your willingness to take them both seriously. This can be something as simple as learning a word a day to build your vocabulary, or following your favorite writing/writer-focused podcast (shameless plug for THE WRITERS’ BLOCK on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify! Check for the red and black logo!). But,  the cool think about retreats are they provide a way to build your writing community as well! These groups and collectives can be your secret weapons to keep you motivated to write! The best thing about workshops is how they can be so specific! There is a retreat or a workshop for any and every part of writing! For every genre, every struggle, every hang-up, and every resource! There is a retreat! Don’t discount the importance of your writing community! Being a writer does not make you omniscient to all things writing related–or impervious to criticism! The reason I am and can be suspicious of writing retreats is because they can be money grabs, and or totally unhelpful! If you spend your hard earned money on something that will help you, there is an expectation that you will get a desired outcome! There are some facilitators of these workshops or retreats whom have no idea how to facilitate them! Or prepared to answer any questions! Cardinal rule of searching out workshops and retreats is to do your research on the facilitator! Email them and ask questions! You are a writer as well as a consumer! Don’t be caught in a space where you have invested time, energy and money and come out worse for wear. Be careful, my oracles. Be wise. Be careful. Invest wisely in the development of your craft and career. The responsibility of the development of your craft is up to you.

Encouragement Pages-10/05/2020, As You Go Along-Part 1

Writing requires a completely different set of knowledge. Writers have the strangest walking around information! Yet, you need this type of knowledge. When writing fiction, you will need to be able to draw from this fountain of information formed and gathered through your own life travels and experiences. The strangest thing about being a writer is how you will incorporate all of those experiences–real or read–as they may manifest into flaw for your protag, a strategy for your villain, or a skill for your underdog!

Get to it! You can do it!

Happy Writing!

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-10/2/2020

I want you to understand that you are in charge of your imagination. You tell it what to do, where you want to go, and what you need the story to say!

You are the writer. You control this world, because you created it.

Create in confidence and write in power.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

Encouragement Pages-09/18/2020-Begging For Support

Writers have to have, must have, a good Christian dose of Vitamin IDC. And you need to take that viatmin on a daily basis. IDC will inoculate you from what people think, what they say, and how the critique of those whom will never, ever step out onto the land of their own talents–but want to tell you how to manage yours.

You are enough by yourself–you never need to beg for the support of anyone! Support is based out of respect and love, neither of which should be based in manipulation.

Write because you want to. The people that love and support you will still love and support you.

Keep going.

With Love & Ink,

JBHarris

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The Flow–Identification

Rod Serling (the creator of The Twilight Zone) said that writing is incessant, and demanding–and he succumbed to it. This is the best way to describe this entity, this power, this source knows as The Flow.

It is this need to create that is indescribable–this feeling that you as a creative person to pull out what is in your head, and put it on paper. Or on canvas. Or film. It is the feeling (it definitely starts as this), this unction that is pushing you to create, forcing you to create. I feels like all creative channels are open and anything that can be created, will be. The great thing about The Flow is once you have experienced it, you will never be confused as to what it is!

Think of it as a teapot. Your talent is what fills it. Time and effort heat the water, and when it whistles? That is your queue to create. That is your signal that you are sitting on something amazing, that you have the amazing on the inside of you–and you should believe enough in yourself to do access it, in order to bring to life what is already living on the inside of you.

Be brave.

Be tenacious!

Write!