I went to a writing workshop last weekend. It's how my wife and I spent our anniversary, in fact. Yeah, I know, we're nerds. We've made our peace with it.
It was a one-day version of Todd A. Stone's Writer's Boot Camp. I definitely learned a few useful things, but the day had an effect on me that surprised me. I normally eat this sort of stuff up. I like learning about writing. I have at least a dozen books on fiction-writing, and I read a lot of writers' blogs to see what useful tips I can glean. I look forward to conference sessions and hope they'll be time well spent.
But this time I found my spirits getting down. Maybe it's the timing. A lot of times books on writing and workshops spark my creativity. This time, though, I kept hearing these great ideas on character development and thinking, "I didn't do that. My characters suck." And then these great ideas on plotting, and thinking, "I didn't do that. My plotting sucks." And then these great ideas on revision and thinking, "I didn't do that. My book sucks."
It was hard not to come out feeling as if I'd been set back.
Ultimately, I had to compartmentalize a lot of what I learned, as great ideas for the next book, because it's too crippling at this point to think I need to tear my book apart and rewrite it.
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