“I like myself better when I’m writing regularly.”
And that is a fact Willie, I feel the same as I am sure a lot of people do, writing regularly is a good habit to have and a fine way of escapism from the jaws of the day. For many people, writing poetry or fiction can come easily and instinctive, yet, there are people who love to write yet like to do it from the dark corner of their homes and never get to show and share their creation.
One way of doing this, of creeping out of your shell, is to participate in a local creative writing class or work shop as I have done over the last two years. In most communities, whatever corner of the world you are in, there should be a local writer who takes the time to set up a workshop be it for poetry or fiction, or both, check out your local paper/website and find this work shop and take the plunge.
Unlimited really. If you are a poetry writer, but have never shown or read a poem in front of people then it can be very nerve wracking as it was for me first time round. Most beginners classes are there to help you, not judge you. I do an excellent workshop with Kevin Higgins in Galway. The object of the workshop is simple, guidance and constructive criticism.
Basically, Kevin will give you, let’s say, a sort of homework, to write a poem for the next class (but you can really bring in any poem you have). You bring in your poem, you read it to the class, the poem is discussed, analyzed, criticized polity but most of all made stronger and of something to be proud of.
This is very encouraging, especially for shy or inexperienced writers. It is a liberating way of learning to express your poetry through sharing with fellow poets in the class, to be able to hear your poetry out loud which is important, to hear and see reactions by others, and most importantly, to get constructive feedback.
You really cannot beat a writing workshop, what ever your genre. As I said first time may be nerve wracking. Questions slap the head of you before you ever read your first poem aloud to a silent audience. I hope this will be good, will they like it? What does my voice sound like? Can they understand my accent? Am I reading too fast? You actually sweat, a slight panic, but, when you see other class mates in the same boat you relax.
As weeks go by you become more confidant, a better writer and able to be better at criticizing and analyzing. I strongly recommend participating in a workshop, and if you live in Galway I highly recommend doing a class with Kevin Higgins who specialises in poetry. Kevin is the master of workshops, helpful, brilliant at analyzing poetry. Many of the students of his classes have actually gone on to be published poets.
Some have gone on to read at the famous Over The Edge monthly readings such as myself, Anne Irwin, soon Bernie Ashe and Erin Buttner who is now writing a memoir and will be reading it at this years Cuirt Festival which is amazing and a huge step, and there are countless writers who have moved on, who would have been beginners and are now making a name for themselves all thanks to taking a chance with workshops.
So, take the step, sign up where ever you are. If you live in Galway, want to improve and take your writing to the next level then seek and find the workshop with Kevin Higgins (Actually just go here for more information) and also, Kevin is not the only one in town with an outstanding workshop, his wife, Susan Millar DuMars, who specialises in fiction as well as poetry, Susan is well know and well liked about the town and her workshops are terrific and again help writers take the next important step (Find out more on Susan’s class here)
Participating in these workshops has taking my writing to a new level, help me make new friends, introduced me to up-and-coming as well as well-knowing writers and smashed the hard shell I once was living in. Find your local workshop and produce and share your creative mind.