Thursday, June 28, 2012

Playing With Artistic Blocks

"We write. We talk about writing. We encourage each other. Sometimes we offer constructive criticism." That's how I nutshell my creative writing workshops to prospective participants.

The workshop is equal parts sanctuary, playground and group therapy session. We typically use the first twenty to thirty minutes of each session to just write, write, write. I offer a prompt--a photo, a song lyric, a line or scenario-- as a suggestion- a jumping off point- which can be used or eschewed in favor of an image or idea rumbling around in a writer's head. The premise: uncensored, uninhabited writing can open the creative passageway often blocked by the raging self-doubt of that pesky inner critic who always seems to tag along for the ride.

After we finish writing, folks can share or pass ( I'm the only one who never passes; I think as the facilitator it is incumbent upon me to share). No one offers criticism. How can we? We know the work can't be very good; it is after all, a very raw, rough draft. People can, however, mention a particular image that stood out, if they are so inclined.

The surprising thing: many of the images, turns of phrase, characters, are often vivid or amusing or touching. Some even serve as starting points for stories and poems, scripts and even books. You'd be amazed at what your inner artist can do when s/he is left to play without fear of recriminations, without that pounding "It's no good," "No one will care," "No one will ever publish this."

These exercises give you permission to try, to play, to experiment.  And once you dip into that creative well, you're apt to dip in again and again.

The rest of the session is open for sharing, collaborating and critiques. Got a little procrastination problem? Come on down. It's amazing what a little group accountability and encouragement can do to convert even the most adroit procrastinators into productive writers.

I encourage a generous cross sampling of fiction writers and playwrights, poets and non-fiction writers. As a genre-jumping writer myself, I find the collaborations exciting. Alchemy is often ignited as we let our guards down and explore unexpected creative terrain.

New workshops are forming soon in New York City, suburban New York and Connecticut. All workshops are open to writers regardless of skill level or genre.

Call(914) 939-5579 or write: for registration information. Private coaching sessions and writing/editing services available from anywhere.

Cheers and onward.