Report on Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers workshop

Here’s a re-post from my PlaywrightPriest blog, which went up June 9.

I’m including it here because it’s more appropriate to this new web site, and also because of a resource recommended at the workshop that has proved invaluable. I’ll describe that fantastic resource in an upcoming post.

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Today I attended a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s workshop entitled “Write More in Less Time,”  presented by local mystery writer Liesa Malik. What an amazing, inspiring workshop it was!

A year and a half ago I decided to “re-tool” my playwright brain to include fiction writing. TheRocky Mountain Fiction Writers  is an amazingly supportive organization, offering workshops, newsletters, contests, retreats and more. This month’s program was held at Belmar Library and the two hours went by in the blink of an eye.

Malik split the program into two halves. The first addressed the area of building self-esteem and confidence as a writer, because “a confident writer is a better, faster, and more productive writer.” She filled the program with short, sweet writing exercises which directly addressed our own writing process. One of her most surprising suggestions was, rather than “Write WHAT you know,” try writing “WHO you know.” This automatically links character and emotion to your project, and gives you living resources from which to draw information and material.

Another invaluable perspective Malik provided was the importance of assessing “where you are” in the process, and envisioning “where you are going.” Then it’s a matter of creating a plan, a bridge to take you from one to the other. A detailed plan, but a life-giving one.

The “Time Management” second half of the workshop emphasized the value of making and following a plan, using a timer. I felt as though I had been struck by a lightning bolt of goodness when she showed how having a plan calms a person, reduces fear and anxiety, and breaks the project down into manageable chunks. Wow! Duh, but wow!

Malik energetically and eagerly shared numerous methods, techniques, concepts and resources along with a bibliography for us to take home.

Other suggestions, such as setting goals, giving yourself deadlines, and treating your time as valuable and irreplaceable currency were things I’d heard before, but really struck home this time.

All in all, I feel reinvigorated and reassured that fiction writing is something I really can do, and I am confident that by implementing these techniques, along with the Pyramid On Point method I learned in an all-day RMFW workshop last month, that I will really, actually be able to produce a completed first draft in the near future. Once I get over that hump, the sky is the limit!

Thank you, Liesa Malik and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!

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