I just got back from a week long writing workshop at the Eckerd College Writers in Paradise writing workshop. I was studying YA literature with David Yoo. We spent the week critiquing each others’ manuscripts (and they were all quite good) and attending readings in the evenings. (There were craft lectures too but at this point in my career, I would like to think I know something about craft. 😉 ) It was a great week.
Now you may ask, why did I pay to go do something that I usually an paid to do myself? First, while I have published in many fields, I have not specifically published or specialized in Young Adult. I wanted to immerse myself in this genre for personal education as well as to bring that knowledge back to my students in the fall. This was a great way to do that. I learned a lot from David and I am going to blatantly steal some of his exercises for the class I plan on teaching next fall. David was a great instructor, personable and friendly while still being critical and helpful.
Second, I think it is important for me as a teacher to become a student again. So at least once every seven years, (on sabbatical so I am still being paid to do it!) I become the student again to remind myself what it is like to be the one being critiqued. I also like to see other teaching techniques. As mentioned before, I will be stealing blatantly from David.
Third, I met a wonderful group of fellow writers. Offering critiques to this group was easy given the high quality of the writing and the willingness to listen to constructive criticism. We laughed and we learned. That’s always a good combination.
So, if you looking for a good writing workshop, I highly recommend the Writers in Paradise workshop. It also doesn’t hurt for us snowbelt residents to go to Florida in January. 🙂