What Workshopping Has Done to Me

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Dreamers, I’ve fallen in love.

I’m back at Uni and studying my little butt off (which is why I’m so quiet on here) and I fell in love with workshopping all over again. You see back in my Flinders days I was pretty cool with everyone telling me how good my writing was. It was a nice little ego boost, then when I was at Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly known as NMIT) I had my arse handed to me on a silver platter.

I was too cocky.

I took it to heart.

I let it get the better of me.

My piece was shredded before my eyes and I felt like a failure. It took me weeks to get back on the horse and rewrite it, pulling it apart completely and stitching it back together like I was performing some kind of miniscule surgery on it to bring it back to life.

In hindsight I needed to learn that lesson. When I came back, it was better, tighter and had an actual ending. I also got my first HD grade.

I screamed in excitement and nearly asked my lecturer to recount the marks (Thanks Alice) but held back. I was cool and collected, like it wasn’t the biggest mark I’d ever gotten, but it was.

I learned something valuable. Sometimes you need to get knocked off your pedestal and pushed around so you can get the most out of your writing.  From that moment on I learned what it was like to really get down and dirty with pieces of writing. It made me a better critiquer and even when there were people in the class who didn’t deserve it tried to give it my all because I was appreciative of what I got.

Now at MQ I’m learning about how great it is all over again. I was hesitant to throw up my story I worked so hard on, because I don’t think I could take another collective look at it something that I’ve pulled apart and shredded and rewrote a whipping four times. I’m done with that. I’m onto finding critique partners who can help me with miniscule fixes that’ll help me make it better for when I submit it up to publishers.

So I handed up a raw piece of first draft material. I literally gave it a once over, rewrote a bit and put it up for my classmates to check out.

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Part of me was waiting for the backlash, I’d been there before but instead I was guided, with open arms, to some of the most useful and beautiful feedback I have ever gotten in my life.

I was lifted up with every comment, reenergised and rejuvenated. I got to explain things that would come but most of all? Every one of those comments made me rethink of ways to rewrite my piece. I felt more confident and happy about my writing and where I wanted to go with it from there. But most of all every piece of constructive criticism was given with such finesse and love that it made me so happy.

And workshopping feedback, whether it’s from a big cohort or a few people should do that. It should be able to take your piece from something that is good to fucking fantastic and spectacular. There should be no in-betweens here or there. All that matters is the writing.

So, if you can’t get yourself into a class, find a writer’s groups, or better yet, let’s get together and make one online. Let’s make a safe space where people can get together and get feedback. Or a place where they can write. We can do this together. I’m opening up my brain to you and asking you to do the same for me.

What if you could have a chance to get out from behind your computer and get face to face feedback on some of your writing chapter by chapter. If you could do that what would you do? Would you shy away from being able to get help? Or would you rise to the occasion?

Rise, fucking rise high baby. Give yourself a chance, find a buddy or a group to share your writing because what you write isn’t supposed to live in the bottom drawer, yeah it’s okay to marinate and percolate in there but it’s not allowed to live in there, because your writing is too beautiful and too amazing to just live in there.

I won’t let it.

I’m thinking of getting writers together (both online and in person) to work on our writing together. And lift ourselves so high that you’ll be hoping and waiting with baited breath for the next session. Let me know if you’re interested in the comments.

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