How to Make a Writing Workshop

Seriously, y’all, how do you make a writing workshop?

About a month ago I was approached by a member of FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal) chapter of the RWA to find out if I’d be interested in conducting a workshop for our first ever conference in March. My first thought was “of course!! That would be full of awesome!” and then I had to come up with an idea. Uh. I hit up my two favorite peeps, Four Foxes, One Hound fellow blogger, Jillian Chantal, and my gee/k/ink and CP, Daisy Harris for ideas.

They gave me plenty to think about and I sent a confirmation back to FF&P that I’d be delighted to conduct a workshop called Music and the Muse. If you weren’t aware of this, I’m a music hound. Seriously. I can’t function without it and that includes my writing time. Jillian gave me the idea and Daisy gave me her nod of approval that she thought I could do it.

Unfortunately, I’ve never hosted a workshop before in my life. I don’t speak in front of people. I was taught how. I took Speech 101 and yes, I always chose offbeat topics (Tarot Cards, Weave, etc.) and I did well, but I was forced to take that class. This time I volunteered to talk to people. *cringe* I don’t think this was part of the contract I signed when I decided to become a writer. I mean, I’m good with words, but only on paper! I get tongue-tied and nervous and my voice shakes and I’m going to embarrass the hell out of myself.

Okay *deep breath* I’ll be fine. But now I have to figure out how to condense everything I put into my workshop proposal into one hour. One hour? How can I cover everything in an hour? I mean, this is music. Songs are, on average, about three and a half minutes long. Okay…nevermind, that was a stupid thought. What if I bore people? What if they start yawning and looking like they’d love to either gag me to shut me up, or eye the electrical cords wondering how long it would take to strangle me with them?

I can do this. Right? Right? If there’s a will there’s a way and all that jazz. I have a plan…sort of. I know what songs I want to use, but then I think, “Oh man, I can’t forget this song! It’s perfect for writing and ooh, what about this one and this one?” I was a radio DJ at one time, you know, picking songs is like asking me to pick my favorite book: impossible.

Mais, this is a rambling post, isn’t it? I know one thing though, this post is not the way to make a writing workshop. Looks like I’ll have to dig through my first year college brain (if I can find it under all the dust) and rediscover my Speech 101 lessons. If you happen to be in my workshop, give me a smile of encouragement now and then, okay? But no fake smiles cause then I’ll think you’re wondering how long it would take to choke the life out of me.

Happy Wednesday from the ever-confusing Cajun Fox!

About danicaavet

Danica Avet lives and writes in the wilds of South Louisiana. Unmarried with no children, she's the proud pet of two cats and a dog. With a BA in History, she decided there were enough fry cooks in the world and tried her hand at writing. Danica loves losing herself in the antics of her characters and blushes more often than not at the things they do. She likes to define her work as paranormal romance with a touch of Cajun spice, but most times her characters turn the notch up to "five-alarm fire"!
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8 Responses to How to Make a Writing Workshop

  1. Jillian says:

    You will be awesome. I love all your music posts on your blog and the discussions we’ve had about music. They will be enthralled. Can’t wait.


  2. jeff salter says:

    I’ve always heard that you’re supposed to imagine your audience is nekkid …. and that will relax you enough to just enjoy your presentation.
    Not sure if that would work for me.


    • danicaavet says:

      LOL you just made me have a flashback to the recent Muppet Movie. My Speech 101 professor did not recommend that. In fact I don’t think she mentioned how to handle stage fright at all, probably because she never suffered from it herself.


      • jeff salter says:

        I’ll bet she did have a form of jitters. I think all the speakers do … even those who are very well practiced. I’ve heard preachers and teachers admit to some form of jitters. But the big difference is: they have a coping mechanism, it usually doesn’t even show (unless you know what to look for), and it typically disappears within the first few moments of their presentation.


  3. Micki Gibson says:

    Get yourself a plant. No, not the kind I forget to water and it ends up dying. I mean, get a friend willing to plant themselves in your direct line of view in your workshop. Your plant will give you all the encouraging nods, ask predetermined questions to fend off any lulls, and essentially be your BFF while you do your presentation. If I were there, I’d gladly volunteer to be your plant.


  4. Laurie Ryan says:

    I’m absolutely no help here. I’m still shaking and crying, yes, literally crying, in the wings pre any type of speech. There was one thing that caught me in your blog though. You may have to use snipets of songs instead of the entire piece in order to condense. And, having just a bit of a feel for your love of music, I guarantee you’ll keep them interested. 🙂


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