When I put out my call for guest bloggers this season, Debra Elise contacted me and asked if she could do a post about workshops and the enthusiasm all new writers feel when they start on their path to publication. Everyone’s path is as different as the stories they write, but Debra’s post nicely captures the excitement of learning something new. Deb just returned from GSRWA’s Emerald City Conference in Washington state this past weekend. Now she’s here to share a bit about her online journey. Welcome, Deb!

“Why the need for so much education?”

How many workshops does it take to create a writer? None. How many workshops does it take to drive a new writer over the edge? For this one, twelve. Good thing I only took eleven. Although, I think I lost count because there were a few free ones I’m sure I forgot. Oh, and did I mention I took four of them simultaneously within one week? No? Well pull up a chair and be prepared to be amazed. Or not.

If there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I don’t do anything on a small scale. I go BIG or go home. Always. I’m also quick to make decisions. I knew after one date with my hubby (a blind date, thank you very much) that he was the ONE. And I have this major flaw, I’m quick to judge a book, or a person, by its cover. However, I’ve really been working on this last one for a few years—promise Mom. Okay so that’s three things but, whatever. Oh, and I can be very sarcastic too. And I love em—dashes. Sorry. So now you know five things about me, I guess we’re BFF’s now—cool.

Okay, back to workshops…

Why Workshops Have Worked For Me

One, they are anonymous and you can ask silly questions without blushing afterwards. Two, they really are full of fab information on the craft, writers life and new trends, etc., which are bombarding, confusing and reinventing this industry. Yet no one is really saying what the next big thing will be. Not vampires though, they’re dead *smirk*. Just found that out at a live conference I attended this past weekend. Which was awesome by the way, except for the vampire thing. Oh well. Resilience is key and I will persevere. Three, you can connect with other unpubbed writers via the loops, threads, whatever the heck they’re called, and again ask questions without being embarrassed or uncomfortable. You meet some really cool people who are generous and willing to share their knowledge with a complete stranger.

Another great thing about online workshops is that you can take a break whenever you want or need to and come back right to where you left off. Need a potty break? No problem. Kids destroying the house and blood is involved. Again, no sweat.

Variety also ranks up there as a good reason to take an online workshop. In the last three months the topics I have taken have run the gamut from Deep POV (omg, my head almost imploded on that one) to critiquing (loved) and my personal favorite, Superior Sex Scenes. That one definitely freed me up internally to be able to write a hot scene without going ewww or worry if that move is even possible.

In the beginning, when I became serious about this career, I found a ton of online workshops from RWA University to Savvy Authors to my local community college and thought “why the need for so much education?” Aren’t writers by definition continually inspired by that fickle creature otherwise known as the “muse”? Aren’t we able, on a daily basis mind you, to wake up motivated with fresh ideas and new plot twists? I can hear you out there laughing at me right now. But of course I have by now answered my own naïve question. It’s a big NO. Make that—Hell No!  But on some rare occasions, maybe, please tell me it happens. You have one of those days where everything just—flows. Right? Hopefully. Again, I’m begging… “Why yes, Deb that does happen.” Sometimes. But not always.

So, what have I learned? I’ve learned to educate myself in this business anyway I can. I joined RWA, my local chapter, online specialty chapters, talked to other authors and of course, take workshops. I will use what works for me, file the rest away, and go BIG.

I have learned that online workshops are well worth the time and money. However, I learned to slow down a bit and pace myself.  This business is a marathon, no arguments there. But as a writer, often times it’s more like a slow walk, followed by an intense sprint. Unless you’re Nora, our inspiration, right? BTW, do you think she gets tired of being put up on a pedestal all the time?

So, now I’m definitely all in on this crazy roller-coaster of a career and I don’t want to look back. Besides where else can you take a course in your pj’s or yoga pants? Scratch that. I forgot—college. Okay what other career affords you the opportunity to go without make-up and freshly ironed clothes and still be successful? Damn, I just thought of one. But I’m not sharing. You’ll have to use your imagination. *grins*

I’d love to hear your thoughts, drop me a line or two about your own journey and what you’ve learned or are still wanting to learn. Maybe we can figure it out together.

More About Debra

Debra Elise is an aspiring paranormal suspense author.  Her current unpublished novel is HEART OF THE BRETHREN. Deb is a stay-at-home wife and mother. Married to the supportive Master Chief and momma to Rooster and BubbaBoy—two monkeys who keep her on her toes—hourly. Oh, and a chocolate lab named Bell who follows her around the house begging for treats. In her previous life, in no particular order, Deb was a telephone operator, optometrist assistant, receptionist, executive assistant, ice cream scooper and bar maid (not a waitress, but an actual maid who cleaned a bar – very glam). Deb loooves coffee, wine and chocolate (so she must me a writer, right?) and reality TV. The latter reinforces how good a life she does have.

Find Deb online here:

Have any of you taken any great workshops lately? Are you signed up for any in the future? If so, let us know! Hope everyone’s having a great week! Thank you, Deb, for guest blogging today.