Why Don’t You Just Bust My Bubble…?

This post started as a simple question to a writing friend, but quickly turned into a novel of its own. If you read my blog, you know that I currently enrolled in a 14-week workshop at a college in my area. Before considering enrolling in any type of workshop, I wanted to do as much researched on writing as possible, I figured I could learn a lot on my own, and did. I bought books, checked books out at the public library, searched to the end of the Internet, and all were incredibly helpful. I learned a lot of the topics we are covering in class form these books, with the only difference that questions are asked and the answers are elaborated on a little more. I find however that aside from critiquing, which seems to play miserable tricks on your writing psyche by the way, I know a little more about what I have already read with regards to the “craft”.  
Recently we started reading our work to the class and getting the much-needed critique; last class I got a question with regards to my character that bothered me more than it probably should and I have been mauling over it all weekend. Did I mention that I think workshops cause writer’s block? Why, well I will tell you why…  because we concentrate so much on what will be said in class that we don’t concentrate on the writing itself.  Anyway, I was asked if I wanted the reader to like my MC, my answer of course is yes she is the heroin I need you to like her. When I get questions like that I come home and begin the killing of my darling, I re-read my scenes and see that I might be taking my MC in the wrong direction. What kills me is that it’s usually the opinion of one person, everyone else either completely hates how or what I write or they don’t get it and have no clue what to say which is frustrating when in a class of 15 only one or 2 people speak up. Now let’s not get into the head nodding and sympathetic looking smiles and the dreaded “you know”, well, no I don’t know it’s why I am here! How effective is a vague critique? Speak up people I want your advice and opinion so I can fix it!
I should point out that I get very helpful critique from my teacher, but I thanks to the two that spoke up, I leave not feeling in any way pleased. I swear these workshops were created to bust the creative bubble I live in and my ego. It confuses me; I hate second-guessing myself and that is exactly what I do once I leave the class, in the 25 minutes it takes me to get home, all I think about is what and where to begin the changes to my WIP. There is no doubt in my mind that these work shop are indeed helpful, I just think I personally am not getting what I want from it, I like to think everyone goes to class every Wednesday with an open mind and fully aware that they might not read what I write and vice versa, but respect the work anyway. But, isn’t there always a but? I enjoy the realization that I am in a room with my peers, with writers who pour their heart and soul into their work as much if not more than I do.
Tell me, have you ever enrolled in a writing course or workshop? What was your experience like? Are there questions I should be asking?
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One thought on “Why Don’t You Just Bust My Bubble…?

  1. I enrolled in a workshop and didn't get a lot out of it. I've learned more on my own and through trial and error. Also finding the right critque group who was more interested in making me better by telling me like it is has been the best thing. You have to stick to your guns too. If something needs fixed, by all means fix it, but don't take a couple people's words as gold. Especially in a “forced critiquing” setting. Good luck!

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