I'm currently a part of the Women's Theatre Alliance of Chicago's New Play Development Workshop. We've had three meetings so far, and I'm already loving it. It has been years since I've been in a writer's group or done a writing workshop. I had forgotten how wonderful they are. Here are four reasons that I love writing workshops.
- Writing workshops create accountability. Being expected to share new or updated pages in workshop meetings gives me a hard deadline. Not a made up deadline that I set for myself but can easily ignore if I'm tired. A real deadline. Sure I may only manage to churn out a few very rough pages before some meetings, but at least I wrote.
- Writing workshops can provide useful feedback. This one depends on having a good group of people, but when you are surrounded by smart people who know how to give critiques (versus tearing something apart or rewriting it for you) they can really help to make your work better. I'm lucky to be in a workshop with those sorts of people.
- It's easier to accept feedback on a work in progress. I know that feedback is helpful, but I have a bad habit of not showing my work to people until it is close enough to done that I am proud of it. The problem with that is by then I'm pretty attached to the way things are and that makes me less likely to truly consider someone else's comments. At a workshop though I already know I'm sharing something that needs work, which makes me more open to really listening to what people think and making changes as appropriate.
- It's fun. I don't just go enjoy workshops because I want help with my writing. None of my work was read at the last WTA meeting, but I still loved being there. It is invigorating to listen to and talk about the work of talented writers. I'm so happy to be doing this.
By the way, the WTA New Play Development Workshop ends with a showcase in which all the pieces will be performed. (Short pieces will be performed in their entirety, and scenes will be performed for the longer pieces.) If you are in Chicago, mark your calendar for Wednesday, July 20th at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave.
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