Sometimes we can get so caught up in what’s going on in our head that we forget that some of the answers to the writing problems we’re facing may lie outside of ourselves and our immediate circle. Just today, I had a perfect example of that. There was a free workshop offered nearby that I thought might be helpful. I waffled for a bit, but my intuition was telling me to go: to take some time from my day to attend it. I’m so glad I did!
First of all, it got me out of my home office and into a great little coffee shop where I mingled with other writers also working out problems of their own. This made me feel less isolated and frustrated about some of the issues I’m trying to sort out in deciding how to respond to some professional feedback I’m getting about my YA novel. Just being in a relaxed setting made me feel more relaxed about the writing challenge I’m facing.
Second, I received some very helpful story design pointers. The person giving the talk had lots of helpful information that really struck a chord with me. Listening to some of the advice he was giving and throwing out questions related to my story stumbling-blocks got me excited and energized. Through the lens of his approach to story design — which is very different from mine — I could see that there are some core weaknesses I have to tackle on the plot and point-of-view fronts.
And finally, there were two other women at the session who both gave me some great ideas. One suggested that I use a flashback to convey some information in a way that would be more dynamic. And the other, a writer named Tracy, gave me a terrific idea for handling a major adjustment I’m thinking of making to my story. She gave me a twist to my tweak that really got my juices flowing! I’m still noodling around the changes I’m planning to make, but the concept I’m playing with was definitely pumped up a notch as a result of Tracy’s inventive angle.
So all in all, getting away from my little office, putting myself in a position to learn some fresh approaches to story development, and talking with fellow writers proved to be very productive. Which just reminds me — and hopefully you — that sometimes getting out and about is the best way to find the fresh insights we need to move forward. Write on!