Do you ever find yourself sitting at your desk, staring at a blank document, or worse, an incomplete one? Is there anything more frustrating than to find your hard-working muse has taken a lat minute vacation and left you not so much as a note? Maybe she has one-upped herself and taken your stunning work ethic with her, and probably your patience, too.
Sure, your muse deserves a break now and then, but her fickle ways and tight-knit relationship with your will to power through can leave you in a real bind, sometimes, right? So, what do you do when you feel that creeping doubt, that infuriating irritation, or that insurmountable desire to just throw your hands in the air and walk away?
Well, you can give in, but nobody really wants to do that, do they? And even if you want to, sometimes you just don’t’ have a choice in the matter. The show must go on, after all. So what’s next?
You could watch a movie, or read a book. These are both great options, but what if you’ve already done that? Have you taken a walk? How about a shower? Did you drain your sorrows in ice cream and power up with extra high doses of caffeine?
What about a workshop?
Workshops have a lot to offer you, and they aren’t just for completed work. What do you get from participating in a workshop?
– You get the advice of other writers, often in many stages of their careers and from many different backgrounds. They will each have different insights into both the craft of writing and the multitude of paths a story can take. You also leave with new names in your network, people you can create friendships with that will last long past the workshop itself.
– You get the advice of those leading the workshop, in this case you may be looking for a certain person or people form a certain genre. You will usually pay for these workshops, but it is definitely worth it. (For instance, Garret Cook is currently offering slots in his quarterly Bizarro workshop this coming May. It costs 25 dollars, but those that participate are surrounded by the best and brightest, and they get feedback from Garret himself, who is an established Bizarro author, an excellent editor, a pretty cool dude.)
– You get to read the work of others. You get to see what works and what doesn’t. You hear it all the time, and it’s true. There is no better way to learn to write than to read. There is no better inspiration than that which has come before. The spark of creativity catches and spreads like wildfire. Surround yourself with other creative minds and you’ll find that your muse just can’t bear to stay away.
And the very best thing about workshops? There’s no real formula. Everyone does it their own way, and if you’re destitute and just looking to bounce ideas off of a few like-minded creators then call up some friends. Invite them over for a couple of cheap pizza’s fresh from your grocer’s freezer section, toss in a couple of dollar store two-liters and encourage everyone to bring their favorite brand of coffee with them. Make it a party and you’ll find that your muse is not the only one that knows how to have a little fun.
Check out Garrett Cook’s most recent book, Jimmy Plush: Teddy Bear Detective, on Amazon today.