Writing is a career that requires experience and a keen eye for the non-cliché. It essentially asks more sensitivity than skill; this is why we don’t usually see writers excelling at an early age, unlike prodigies in the other arts like music, dancing, and acting.
Image source: wired.com
An important rite of passage for anyone seriously considering being a writer is the writing workshop. This is mainly because these workshops allow the would-be writer to accept criticism and discuss works openly in the company of other writers and established mentors.
Writing cannot be overly romanticized as the endeavor of hermits. No one really writes in a vacuum, so to speak. Writing workshops let writers observe how others critique works of literature, as well as give exposure to one’s own outside the familiar comments of friends and relatives. This writerly distance is needed for people to be constructively critical, in the presence of seasoned writers who can offer impartial insights on both the merits and demerits of drafts or promising works.
It goes without saying that while the typical atmosphere in these workshops is collegial, the experience can be nerve-wracking for the uninitiated. Egos must be checked at the door, and beginning writers must be able to accept suggested revisions to their respective works. One can say, in a paradoxical sort of way, that it is a good writer’s conceit to not be conceited.
Image source: writersworkshop.uiowa.edu