I approach writing workshops like I do books on writing: with wary skepticism. Actually, I’m probably more skeptical of workshops, with the higher price tag and worse consequences when it’s just not a good fit.
A bad book, you can put down. A bad instructor? That’s harder to get away from.
Most writing workshops and classes I’ve taken have been disappointing. They were nothing like what I’d anticipated. Most instructors got a deer-in-the-headlights expression when I said I write fantasy. And sure, going in with expectations is like asking for disappointment, but the point of a class or a workshop is to learn something. To gain an awareness of other approaches or perspectives.
Most of the time, I was just bored.
I’ve taken a couple wonderful classes, too. I recommend anything with Amherst Writers Alliance (AWA – it’s a workshop method and it’s fantastic) or by Mary Robinette Kowal.
This year, I’m running another (script)writing workshop, like last year at a local high school drama festival. I can’t let myself do the same thing again, so I have to start planning from scratch. And everything I’m drawing on is a mix of what has worked for me as a student, and what didn’t – or what I would have wished in place of what was.
Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time last year, so let’s see if we can make it happen again!