Go Away, I’m Writing
Shut out the world, your inner demons, and your excuses.
A 3-Part Get-and-Stay-Motivated Writing Seminar Series
Possibly the most common issue that comes up in my classes and workshops, and in my own writing practice, is: how the hell do you actually write? I mean, sure, you put your ass in the chair and arrange words in order to make a story, but how??
That basic question disguises itself as questions about procrastination, fear, writers block, rituals, making a writing space, platforms and Twitter accounts, and the truest answer to all of those complex inquiries that are totally valid and yet basically boil down to tell me how to write is still: you have to just do it.
You can learn how to craft a narrative, you can have interesting characters and a compelling premise, you can have an outline, your favorite mug, your writing software, your dog at your feet, your belly full, your phone off…but none of it matters if you can’t actually get words from your brain onto the page.
So, how do you do something that sounds so stupidly easy and yet, as we know, can be embarrassingly difficult?
I see 3 main obstacles:
“I don’t have time to write.” I hear this a lot. I even think it and say it frequently myself. It’s bullshit. Give yourself permission to prioritize, and you’ll have time.
Self-doubt/resistance. Doubt makes you better, but it can also be paralyzing. Learn how to stop it from tipping the scales and preventing you from working.
Burn out. There’s no age cap on writing, so you better buckle up for the long haul. Sustainability in your writing practice is critical to success.
If any or all of these hurdles need to be cleared from your path, you might benefit from my three-part seminar series this summer that should help you slay the demons that keep you from making progress.
Go Away, I’m Writing
Dates: The last Saturday in July, August, and September: July 27, August 24, September 28
(I’d like to stick with Saturdays so you can all use the Sunday after for writing, but once everyone is signed up, we can move to Sunday if that day works better for the most people.)
Time: 11 am – 2:30 pm
Location: Los Angeles area home TBA
Cost: $375, $350 if paid in full by July 15.
Can be paid in monthly installments; first installment of $125 will hold your place.
Workshop #1: You’ve Gotta Fight for Your Right to Write
You don’t find time to write, you make time to write. It’s true, but it’s not easy.
We’ll talk about all the valid real-world reasons not to write and how to distinguish between the nagging voices that need to be heard and those that need to STFU—the ones that sound like your negative relatives/friends/inner mean girl and keep suggesting you do something more “worthwhile.”
We’ll discuss strategies for giving yourself permission, prioritizing, outwitting distractions that look like productivity, and how to ignore laundry or dishes or whatever else you feel like you “should” be doing instead of writing.
We’ll also address the current state of the world and how to combat “rage grief” in order to give your writing the weight it deserves even in the face of awful daily news.
Workshop #2: Embrace Good Enough
After fighting the external obstacles, it’s time to dig into the nitty-gritty of your internal demons. If you still find yourself stuck staring at a blank page and blinking cursor, or, even worse, can’t bring yourself to sit in front of the computer at all, it likely means you are facing the self-doubt-shame cycle.
Does this sound familiar?
You don’t write because you don’t think it‘ll be good enough, or it won’t be what you wanted, or you don’t know what happens next or [insert your reason here] and then you feel like a failure and it confirms that you’re not good enough and you’ll never be good enough and every rejection you’ve ever gotten was right and you should give up because you’re not even a real writer, since you’re not writing, which you should do but you can’t because you’re such a loser and nothing you write will be any good anyway…
It’s a dizzying cycle. This workshop will help you break it with the truth that you are good enough. You will be good enough no matter what you write, and if you feel like what you’ve written isn’t good enough—you can fix it.
We’re going to help you crack open this shame cycle, tackle the ways you doubt yourself to (re)build your confidence and remind you why you write in the first place so you can get writing again.
Workshop #3: Habit Not Hobby
So many of my students think they can’t call themselves “real writers” if they don’t write every day. But lots of writers don’t write every day. Some of us are binge writers. Some of us need the reliability of routine. Some of us need a month on a farm in Virginia to write an entire book that would take three years at home. The important part is the habit, whatever that habit looks like to you.
What kind of writer are you? A binge writer? A write-as-soon-as-you-wake-up-five-days-a-week writer? Do you write for one hour before bed? Whatever your style, knowing how you work is essential to finding a sustainable schedule and process.
In this third workshop, we’ll leave you with ideas for sustaining your writing practice into the foreseeable future, and techniques for staying motivated to keep the habit.
The workshop series should also leave you feeling inspired and supported, and assured that it’s okay, necessary even, to take a break sometimes. You have to live in order to have anything to write about. Make it not only a habit to write, but to get outside your door and see the world.
Sometime during these months, we will set up a time to have a forty-minute “writing therapy” session via phone or in-person to dive a little more deeply into your specific needs and setbacks so you can get the most from the techniques shared in the larger group. Sometimes it helps to just talk through ideas and blocks.
We will have monthly email threads with the whole group for you all to discuss what tips you tried and how they worked, what tweaks you made, and how the writing is coming along. Community support: it’s a life-saver.
“Melanie is the perfect blend of critical and encouraging.”
“I have an MFA in writing and have been doing writers’ groups and workshops for years. Melanie is, hands down, one of the smartest and most insightful instructors I’ve ever had.”
“Melanie is the best kind of voice to have in your head…one of the best things for my career has been Melanie’s advice, guidance, and red pen. ”
“There are many freelance editors out there. I consider myself so lucky to have found Melanie, who simply cannot be beat.”
“Melanie is very skilled at leading and guiding discussions. This was the first time I’ve walked away from a workshop feeling like I had real concrete ideas about how to improve and move forward.”
“Melanie has a keen eye for story and always comes up with helpful suggestions for honing in on what’s working in your manuscript and fixing what’s not. She definitely works with you on the big picture in terms of structure, character, plot, and pacing but also delves into subtext, creating layers of meaning, and style.”
“Melanie is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.”
“When I had my first meeting with Melanie, within two minutes she had put me completely at ease and seemed to be reading my mind, answering questions before I even asked them…She is also just a remarkably smart, genuine and witty person. Being around her is always a good time and then almost without realizing it you’ve taken your work to the next level by the time you say goodbye.”
Melanie is equal parts teacher and friend. For me, the friend part was crucial. Melanie believed that I could write a book before I really believed it. Thanks to her, I’m this much closer to finishing my fucking book.
“Kind, constructive and insightful, Melanie is an instructor who can help you make your book the best it can be. Anyone would be lucky to have the chance to work with her.”
Read more about what people say after working with me.
For questions, comments, or to sign up:
Email me at Melanie.Thorne@ymail.com, or fill out the form below. I look forward to hearing from you!