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What I Learned this Weekend at AWW 2017

This past weekend I attended the Antioch Writers’ Workshop (AWW) 2017 Saturday seminar, as well as the keynote and craft class with Hugo Award winner John Scalzi. My head just about popped with all of the knowledge poured into it by some fantastic speakers. Creative WritingI can’t imagine what it would be like to attend the full week, but I hope to find out one of these years.

After taking some time to mentally digest the new knowledge, I wanted to share with you three things I took away from the weekend. There were far more than three things I learned, but these are the ones that stood out.

1) Find a process that works for you.

Sometimes I worry so much about doing things the “right way” that I get discouraged and don’t move forward. This is a useless approach to getting anything done. Even though I know better, I still get caught up in this trap. Silly. 

One thing mentioned a few times during talks was being open to opportunities to write. I’m not one who usually has large blocks of time when I can do this, so I need to be open to the opportunities when they arrive – like right now. I took the opportunity! Hooray! The forward momentum feels good. Now I just need to be more active in sorting out a process. For novels, puking out the skeleton during NaNoWriMo then fleshing it out later seems to work for me so far. Now I need to sort out how to write shorter stuff more frequently.

The other thing I found interesting about having a process is it can change over time, so be open to adapting to something different. Think of it as an adventure.

2) Write for yourself.

You are your first audience. If you don’t like what you write, chances are no one else will either. Unfortunately, the opposite is not true. Just because you love it doesn’t mean everyone else will. You’ll never please everyone, so write what you want to read.

3) Have fun.

Don’t view writing as a chore. Writing is fun! Being creative is fun! Making stuff up is fun! Pardon the overuse of exclamation points, but it’s fun!

One thing I was reminded of this weekend is writers tend to be nice people. Being an INFP, I was super stressed out about hanging out all day with people I didn’t know or know well. Turns out the majority of the people I talked to there felt the same way and we were all nice and understanding of the stress we all shared. It helped to be able to laugh about this with other people.

If you have the chance to attend a writing workshop, especially AWW, go. Even if you don’t know anyone else who will be there or are nervous about talking to people you don’t know, go. I guarantee you won’t be the only one there who feels that way and you don’t want to miss out on a chance to learn about the craft or meet some lovely people.

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