Monday, 3 August 2015

How Do You Do It?

I’ve just got back from a week in Fishguard at the annual Writers’ Holiday (www.writersholiday.net), where I was running my Photography for Writers course. (And thank you to everyone who pointed their cameras at lots of things and took photos!)

But while I was there, I was also able to participate in a course myself, and I opted to take Solange Hando’s course on travel writing. (Solange has written a really good book on the subject too: Be A Travel Writer - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Travel-Writer-Live-Dreams-Features/dp/1780999445/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438528013&sr=8-1&keywords=Solange+Hando)

One of the delegates turned to me and said, “I’m surprised you’re here. You’ve had lots of travel pieces published. What’s left for you to learn?” And they were right. I have. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new for me to learn. As writers, we all do things slightly differently, and that’s why it’s interesting to know how others go about their craft. And Solange is a tutor who likes to make her delegates graft! (She is very nice, though, I do want to point out.) During her 8 workshops, I identified three new markets, and I produced an outline, an introduction, a conclusion and the first 1200 words of a 1500-word travel piece. Had I had a bit more time I would have finished the first draft of the whole piece. But it’s three quarters complete, so I’ll get that first draft sorted in the next day or so. Then I’ll pitch it to my target market. (Normally, I would pitch first, but Solange wanted us to write the first draft.) Although workshops are great places to learn, they’re also a good opportunity to put into practise what you have learned, which means you generally get a bit of writing done.

It’s also useful to go on these courses to find out what you have in common with other writers. Solange went through her writing and pitching process, and I felt it comforting to know that her system is similar to mine. Working on our own, it’s often difficult to know whether our methods of working are right, or efficient, or need improving, and so finding out how other people operate can be really useful.

So if you see a course on an genre of writing you think you know well, don’t dismiss it. Consider giving it a go. You might find you learn something new, and even if you don’t, knowing that you operate in the same way that other professionals do will still give you confidence.

Good luck!

PS: if you’re looking for some writing courses, check out Relax and Write at: http://www.malagaworkshops.co.uk/id14.html 

And there’s still time to book for the National Association of Writers’ Group’s Festival of Writing during the first weekend of September: http://www.nawg.co.uk/436/ 

1 comment:

  1. That's what makes writing so interesting, you never stop learning!

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