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Weekend Lessons

This weekend I attended my first writer’s conference in years. The workshop was led by Clive Matson, a widely published author of poems, stories and essays. He has also led numerous writing workshops all over the world. I must admit right off that I am not inclined to take a lot of workshops because the true secret to writing is to sit down and write!

Before I signed up for the workshop, I had never heard of Mr. Matson or read any of his books. But, something within urged me to attend. Often when I make decisions, I look for yellow flags telling me to proceed with caution and red flags telling me to stop. While deciding whether to go, no yellow or red flags popped up.

One of the first things Clive said was, “I’m not here to teach you to write. You already know how to do that.” In the workshop, we sat our butts down and wrote. A lot. Then, we shared our priceless gifts and heard feedback from all, and then ended each session with our reactions to critiques.

I learned multitudes about my own writing process. I tend to listen to the negative voices in my head, especially telling myself my writing is not good enough and/or publishable. I’ve never heard this from another human being, it’s all my own inner dialogue. What a realization that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my writing!

I also realized I have strengths in my writing. I am able to follow a point of view through and I describe very well. I hate adverbs- they are the lazy writer’s best friend. Okay, sometimes adverbs clarify, but mostly they distract. I must say I am the queen of description with few adverbs.

Will I take another writing work shop? Maybe. But, the secret to writing?

Sit down and write.

© 2007 Susan Littlefield