There is such a thing as teaching burn-out. I’ve taught folks how to ride — and I miss that part of my life, and still plan to get back to it someday. But these days it’s more about writing workshops. The best part of any workshop is that it makes me rethink some of my own process. However, when you find yourself saying the same things over and over, it starts to feel dull–which is why 2008 was the year of just say no to any workshops. But I’ve already lined up a few for next year, and I’m actually excited.
The first one off is a “Show and Tell” workshop Jan. 5th thru the 16th for the Northeast Ohio Chapter of RWA. While I’ve given this workshop before, a year of space has given me time to rethink things, and I did a run through of this for the local LA RWA chapter, and that went well. It always interests me just how many writers do not have a clear idea between what’s the narrative voice, and what isn’t–and I think there’s a connection here between if a writer leans more towards instinct or analytics. Instinct is good, but one thing I learned from one of the most brilliant riders I’ve ever known–George Morris went on to coach the US Olympic riding team, and he always said he’d take a solid technical over a brilliant instinctual rider. He knew he could count on the technician to produce–that person might not give the brilliant rides, but the instinctive rider also has moments when instinct fails or goes wrong, and so there’s a lack of consistency in the performance.
Writing is a lot like that. Instinct can fail–can take you the wrong way. But solid technique–that can lead you to solid performance. Which is why I lean more towards wanting a better understanding of craft. I adore brilliant writing– but I also love a really well-crafted story with solid technique. And if I can pass on a love and interest of that–well, hey, that’s not a bad thing, is it?