Tuesday Afternoon Ramblings


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.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday Afternoon Ramblings”

  1. Wow! I love your books and as you continue writing, I am seeing your work grow and mature. I love watching that process in a series. I think that you have LOTS to share with other writers. You are a truly wonderful person (and a good friend!) and I think this would be a good idea. Of course, I do not write, but I do love to read. There have to be people out there who genuinely want to learn more about how to write and improve their writing. Some of these people don’t want to go through the “traditional college” route to achieve their dreams. The idea of writing retreats could be just what they need. I would like to encourage you to continue to work on this because I think you have things to share that would help others.

  2. Anything is marketable. The question becomes about you. If this is something you would like to do, do it. I know there are plenty of people who would enjoy it. I don’t know that I would ever read a book you wrote on the subject, but I would love to hear what you have to say on it, TED style or over drinks. That is just more my style of gaining knowledge. Over drinks or where I can heckle if need be.

  3. I agree with Rocky.
    The people who know you, know you to be an honorable man and will see a benefit in the information you share.
    Focus on your strengths and joys in this process and everything will sort itself out.

  4. “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,” This proves you need to do something like this since you actually know what you are talking about.

  5. I’ve read The Brotherhood of Dwarves series(1-4 anyway).I don’t write but I do read quite a bit and think any knowledge you can give will be apprecciated.

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