The Anxiety and Excitement of a Workshop

For the past three weeks I have been participating in a workshop at Flying Object in Hadley, Massachusetts. The workshop, run by an amazing writer named Rachel Glaser, is called “Serious Fiction.” The requisites were previous experience in workshops, an sample of writing and a letter of interest, and most importantly a serious interest in writing,

There are twelve women participating in the group, each one with a unique and interesting perspective. The pieces submitted so far have ranged from flash fiction, prose poetry, short stories and other original formatting.

It has been great experience reading my peers’ writing, critiquing and listening to other people’s feedback.

Last Monday, I submitted my first piece for critique. I decided to submit the first two chapters of my manuscript. My first inclination had been to submit a different scene I was struggling with, but Rachel made a good point: when submitting a manuscript for review or possible publication the beginning is so important.

Even if I am happy with how it is, who knows what kind of amazing suggestions or ideas I could get? So I decided to submit the beginning of my manuscripts in hopes of receiving great feedback.

I have been anxious all week. I am very excited to hear what kind of critique people will say in next Monday’s workshop. No matter what, it will be a helpful learning experience.

What experiences have other writers had with workshops? Have you found the feedback helpful, distressing, obnoxious? I would love to hear from all of you bloggers out there and  as always, Happy Writing!

Complications

I’ve been a workaholic for as long as I’ve been legally allowed to work. I got my first job at 15 and was hooked. I loved the independence and feeling financially responsible for myself. Not to mention opportunities to meet new people and learn new skills.

So hear I am now, living with my parents and purposefully not working in order to focus on my writing. Needless to say it’s difficult. It feels like a step in the wrong direction. I’ll be thought of as one of those crazy people. Or worse, lazy.

I struggle with it some days. Am I doing the right thing? I ask myself. Am I shirking responsibility or following a pipe dream which has no possibility of coming true? And the worst question: should I give it all up and go get a real job?

I know, only a couple months into this year-long adventure and I’m already having second thoughts. But it’s almost impossible not to. Every moment I’m not at my computer writing I feel guilty. This is my time to write wholeheartedly without distractions, how could I possibly take a moment to eat lunch, go for a walk or see an old friend?

All of these questions and the pressure I put on myself aren’t positive. I know that the only thing it will do is make me anxious and unable to concentrate on what is really important. But if I am kind to myself and patient things will fall into place. Not without hard work, but not without breaks either.