I joined a writer’s workshop at my church. The reason I joined has less to do with working on writing skills and more to do with having a bit of time for friendship and fellowship. And it’s also so that I can spend some time one-on-one with my fourteen-year-old daughter. So I didn’t have any high expectations that my writing skills would improve measurably during this eight-week workshop.
It’s only two weeks in but I have already learned a few lessons.
Writers can and should be able to write on cue.
Both of the first two weeks we have been instructed to write for a period of time about a certain topic and then share what we wrote. I am finding that it’s not all that easy for me to write on cue like that. Yet I think being a writer means that you can write on any topic when asked. Time spent staring into space is wasted time.
I’ve noticed that when I write spontaneously, what I am writing is always trash. It’s a rough draft – a very rough draft. Sharing my rough drafts with a group is a definite exercise in humility. But it’s probably a skill that can be developed.
Comparisons are always deadly.
In the group there is always someone who dashes off something memorable. Their words are as captivating as if their writing had been through several revisions. My first reaction upon hearing such beautiful writing was to question my own ability to write since I usually can’t write a first draft that sparkles.
But there is absolutely nothing to be gained by comparing myself to others. We all have different life experiences and we all bring a unique voice to all of our writing. I can’t be anyone but myself. And that’s ok.
There is always room for improvement.
After beating myself up a bit for being outshone by the other members of the group, I remind myself of the fact that every time I write anything – anything at all – I am practicing. Practice doesn’t make perfect – but it definitely makes improvement.
So I will keep writing.