I got back from NAWG Fest yesterday, after two days of workshops, q&a with agents, and lots of chatting with other writers.
I didn’t learn anything new.
But it was still a valuable (and highly enjoyable) experience because there was a lot of reinforcement of things I already knew. As humans, we develop habits over time, and it’s much easier just to keep on with those than it is to implement new lessons learned. Even if you have a lightbulb moment about something and think your life is going to be changed forever, actually making that change can be incredibly difficult.
So, going to a workshop about the five most common mistake writers make was useful to remind me of what those are and re-motivate me to ensure they don’t crop up in my work. And going to another workshop about showing rather than telling was helpful in reiterating the best ways to go about doing this (especially since it’s the common mistake I make most often).
On the Sunday afternoon, I changed my mind about which workshop I wanted to go to, and ended up attending one I’d done last year, all about getting in touch with the subconscious. I initially hadn’t intended to go, as I thought I knew it all already. And I did. But it turned out to be the most useful (and enjoyable) workshop of the weekend, because it reminded me of all those valuable lessons I learned last year, and then forgot to utilise in the intervening time.
I’ve definitely been neglecting my subconscious crew, and I suspect my writing has been suffering because of it. It was lovely to share a guided meditation experience with some of the other attendees in the workshop, and it was great fun to ask myself questions and get unexpected answers I didn’t realise I knew.
I’m a Writing Magazine subscriber, mostly for the section at the back with all the submission opportunities, but I do enjoy the articles as well. They tend to be quite repetitive, since there’s only so much you can say about the process of writing, but I always enjoy reading the magazine regardless. That’s because I find it so useful to read that advice over and over again, in the hopes that some of it might eventually stick in my brain.
So, I will keep going to workshops and I’ll keep buying Writing Magazine, and maybe one day I’ll be able to change more of my ingrained habits for the better, by replacing them through constant reinforcement.