Thursday, October 1, 2009

7 Challenges Writers Workshop.

Phil Deaver and Lezlie Laws hosted a writers workshop at Rollins College. The focus for the day was to address the seven challenges that face writers. There is a different energy that is felt when you work in a room full of creative people. I feel it when I sketch.
Lezlie discussed reasons she has found to avoid writing. She pointed out that she had manifested hurricanes just to keep from sitting down and facing a blank page. What she usually does however is find busy work. She knows now that if she ends up straightening up in the garage, that she should be writing. She pointed out that when a writer is not writing, they are abandoning themselves.
Phil pointed out that he sits down to write even when he has nothing to write about. If writing were easy, then everyone would be doing it. He feels that the important thing is to turn on the spigot. The first sentences he writes are often useless but if he persists they will begin to work. Once the ideas begin to form, the writer can feel a wave of happiness. Phil said that a writer should try to work longer than they usually do, to write even when the ideas are not ready and fully formed. He pointed out that the struggle adds character to the final "sketch" or narrative. Writing is often like wandering into a dark cave without a flashlight. What you don't know will come to you. The artist needs to be open, not digging or forcing ideas into existence.
A quote was offered and I paraphrase, I treat writing like a rehearsal, I attempt to try out everything. I reject nothing. Lezlie and Phil had the students do a word association game that forced their brain to remain in the left brain mode, allowing for free association and creative thought. From a random list of words generated by the students they then assembled a paragraph and the results were surprising and strikingly visual.
Phil said that authors need to stay at the work table, if they do then everything would come to bear. If the author keeps pushing , then inspiration would come. It comes only when the author is wrestling the muse. The writer has to write about conflict. The story must deal with tensions exploring a dynamic arc. Revelations only come out of that conflict. The author must set the trap then spring it. Many authors promote an illusion by writing around the conflict. Many people are artful dodgers. A writer should not be afraid of failure, a writer should be afraid of not doing anything.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Mary Ann said...

Thor Sketchin' in the room surely ratcheted up the creative energy we could all fee that day. Thanks for documenting another MAD about Words event! Artists and writers together. Yayy!

Ned said...

Brilliant. Thank you very much, Thor, for your words as well as your sketch. I really wished I could have attended this event but couldn't. Now I have a feeling of having been connectd to it in a way. I still wish I could hook up with it, but alas. Thanks again, Ned

Speakeasy, that's who. said...

On the nose, so many of these writing tidbits. And I say this, with no small amount of guilt, as a world-class procrastinating writer.

Thor said...

Indeed artists and writers should work together more often.