6 Tips to Make the Most Out of Writing Workshops Part3

Today is Part 3 of Suzanne Lieurance's article explaining simple ways to get the most out of writing workshops, classes, and the same techniques hold true for webinars also. She sure knows her writing stuff.

This final part of the article gives you some insights into how some other successful children's writers prepare for and take advantage of writing workshops, and other writing instruction events.

Six Simple Ways to Make the Most of Any Writing Workshop or Writing Class Part3
By Suzanne Lieurance

These successful children’s writers offer additional tips:

Cynthia Leitich Smith, award-winning author of JINGLE DANCER (Morrow, 2000)(ages 4-up), RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (Harper, 2001)(Listening Library, 2001)(ages 10-up), and INDIAN SHOES (Harper, 2002)(ages 7-up), and other works, says:

“Be brave. Participate. Put yourself out there. Don’t defend or explain away your work. Don’t think of the other students as competition. And don’t worry if you’re not ‘the star.’ Your focus should be on improving your craft–period.”

Pat McCarthy, an Instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature, and author of 5 YA biographies and 5 nonfiction books for children suggests:

“Don’t write something different from what is assigned because you like to do it your way. Do use the manuscript format – double spaced, etc.”

Susan Wright, another instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, and author of the DEAD END ROAD MYSTERIES (for ages 10 & up) advises:

“Pay attention when others’ work is being read and critiqued–it’s not just common courtesy, but we can often learn a lot from it. Resist the temptation to go off on personal conversational tangents until after the session. Workshop or class time is limited and valuable.”

L.D. Harkrader, author of 9 nonfiction books for children, and the middle grade novel, AIRBALL: MY LIFE IN BRIEFS (published by Roaring Book Press) says:

“When your instructor makes suggestions on how to improve your stories, don’t be afraid to revise, and don’t trick yourself into thinking revision is merely cosmetic work–a word or comma changed here or there. Consider what your instructor has suggested, give your stories a hard, honest look, then dig into your revision, ruthlessly cutting or changing anything that doesn’t work. Your stories deserve to be as strong and as publishable as possible, and the only way you can achieve that is to be brave and do the work.”

Okay. So now that you know how to make the most of that writing workshop or writing class you just signed up for – go get ready for it. And have a great time!

See you in print!

Suzanne Lieurance is an award-winning author and an experienced writing coach. Her club, The Working Writers Club, helps writers go from writing for a hobby or part time to writing as a career. Whether you are writing books or freelance writing, she has the know-how and motivational skills to help you move forward. Check it out at:


1 comment:

Karen Cioffi said...

Charmine, thanks for stopping by. There's so much to be learn at writing workshops and conferences - it's important to jump in.