Thinking about joining a writing workshop, but not sure where to start? Whether you’re trying to improve your writing or make connections with other writers, a writing workshop might be more valuable than you anticipated!
Here are a few reasons to join a writing workshop:
When you’re writing alone, it can be difficult to stay motivated. Even if you set a schedule for yourself, sometimes – without an incentive – it’s easy to fall behind. Without having a reason to write, we tend to lose sight of why we write in the first place!
When you join a writing workshop, because you’re given a deadline and people typically have to come to the workshop prepared, you’re forcing yourself to meet this deadline. While it may be unpleasant, it’s far more productive to have a few underdeveloped pages you can rewrite later than to have no pages at all!
2. Getting Your Work Out There
Writing is a solitary art. That’s an inevitable fact. But screenwriting is also meant to be consumed by an audience, and keeping your work confined inside your head does nobody any favors. Having your writing workshopped gives you the opportunity to have other writers give you unbiased opinions on your work that can lead to unforeseen revelations, and incredible improvements!
Extra bonus points for workshops that have you read the first page(s) aloud, and especially programs that promote live readings! Literally, nothing beats having your script read aloud, in front of a live audience, to see what material soars and what falls flat as a pancake.
3. Guidance & Support
Meeting in a room with other writers regularly not only gives you the chance to network with like-minded creatives and forge potentially career-long relationships, but you also have the chance to make life-long friends who will support your art, as you will theirs!
One of the biggest demands of a writing workshop is that you are not only receiving feedback on your script but giving feedback on the other members as well! While this might be a deterrent to some, it’s actually a fantastic opportunity for personal growth in disguise. It gives you the chance to see past your own work and understand what makes the writers around you tick: how they structure their stories, what they’re passionate about, what their voices sound like.
Quite often, professional workshops are also coordinated by a teacher or working professional who knows the industry you’re writing for. With the right mentor, they will be able to point out common writing mistakes and set you on the path to improvement.
4. See the Big Picture
Sometimes, it’s difficult to be unbiased about your own writing. You’ve spent so much time with a character, or the story is so ingrained in your mind, and you’re unable to see when something isn’t working. Ultimately, this is the to the detriment of everyone around you: yourself, and most importantly, your audience.
Joining a writing workshop allows to see the bigger picture in two ways: First, you receive feedback on your writing that forces you to reevaluate your previous work and improve upon it. Second, it allows you to read the writing of other people in your workshop, notice what they are doing right where perhaps you need work, and gain inspiration from their creativity.
5. Lots of Options
While meeting in a structured environment gives you the opportunity to hone your craft and meet other writers, it can also be discouraging if you end up in a group that isn’t a great fit. You want to find an environment that fosters your creativity, and lifts you up!
Now that we’re in the age of the internet, there are SO MANY diverse kinds of writing workshops out there! There are writing workshops for romance, women writers, LGBTQ+, and many more! If you so much as google it, it’s almost guaranteed that you can find it. Some great resources to find niche writing workshops are through social media, community centers, and meetup.com.
If you’re not ready to get feedback from someone in person quite yet, a great alternative would be a script coverage service, such as the one right here at WeScreenplay, where a vetted script reader can give you extensive digital feedback on your script!
Thomas Blakeley is a screenwriter, playwright, and musical theatre lyricist based out of Los Angeles and New York City. A graduate of The New School, he is passionate about the arts, social justice, and all things nerdy. He can usually be found scouring the horror section of a local bookstore.