When I was at Connooga at the beginning of the month, I gave a brief seminar outlining the writing process. It was an adaptation of the material I teach at the college, tailored for creative writing. Overall, the presentation was well-received, and several people complimented me on the content. Running the seminar reminded me what I used to love about education, sharing knowledge with people who want to learn, and it got me to thinking about possibly setting up my own writing retreats. There are pros and cons, of course, and I’ve not fully committed to it yet. So today, I’m asking for some input from my friends, fellow writers and readers. What do you think of the idea of me hosting a writers’ retreat and teaching seminars about various writing related topics?
Here’s my biggest hold up. While I’ve worked as a writing instructor for nearly 15 years, I’ve mostly viewed myself as a writer first, teacher second, and I purposefully eschew creative writing manuals, workshops, and writers’ groups because in my experience they end up being ego-fests. I have no interest in battling egos with anyone. Also, I’ve long believed that with a few rare exceptions, the people who write the majority of creative writing manuals do so because their own writing isn’t good enough to earn them a living, so they sell writing manuals to aspiring writers. Part of me feels like if I pursue this path I’m in part being a hypocrite but also in some way giving up on my own writing. Not that I would quit creating but more like waving a white flag that I’ll never be successful as a writer.
The biggest pro is that I know I have a great depth of knowledge to share on this subject, and I truly enjoy teaching. I like to think I could inspire others to create fantastic works, and it could potentially help me move away from the system, which at this point is damaged beyond repair. If there’s a market for this, I want to pursue it so that I can continue to teach without being shackled to the system. Also, I think I could do a pretty good job of developing one hell of a weekend retreat, one that could be truly beneficial to aspiring writers and maybe even some seasoned pros.
So please, give me your insights. Do you think this is a marketable idea? Would you be interested in attending something like this, if the price was fair? What kinds of topics do you think have the most demand? Let me know what you think.