We got some great questions today about the Strengths workshop. So thought I should spend a little time here tonight answering those. Remember, we will have six of these workshops when all loaded up in about two weeks. Regular Craft is up now. Regular Business will be up on Sunday. And so on. (See yesterday’s post for all the details.)
— First off, we are only limiting the sign-up time for these six Strength Workshops. But once you sign up, you can take your time, clear into the fall or next winter if you want. The speed you take the workshop is completely up to you, in your control. Videos will not go away or be taken down.
Why can we do this? Because we know that the way this is structured, the assignments we have to look at will spread out, especially if each person does the workshop and assignments at their own pace. We will get you a response in 24 hours or so, but you can take as much time as you like. And that will spread out the assignments, which not doing was one of the things that killed us the last time we did this.
Two years ago we did all the assignments on two nights a week and it just chewed us up. But spreading them out will work great for us and we hope the freedom of your own pace, fast or slow, will work for you as well.
— Regular monthly workshops will stay on schedule. These are just an addition. In fact, we are planning a Western workshop. That was suggested once again at this last Anthology workshop and it finally dawned on me how much fun that will be. So expect that announcement later after the sign-up for the Strengths Workshops are closed.
— Yes, you can sign up for all six workshops now. The total cost would be $1,500. (Paypal me directly and send me a letter as you do with regular monthly workshops.)
You would get all six workshops plus a free monthly online workshop. And you can take your time and take the workshops through the summer and fall and winter. No time limit on taking the workshops. Your pace. Just a time limit on signing up.
— Your skill level does not matter. Kris and I have designed all of these Strengths Workshops so that we can see where you are at in skill and business and sales. In fact, if you feel you don’t know anything about business or sales, these would be the perfect workshops to take because they will give you a study plan on what to learn and what will be needed.
I got three questions today from writers worried about the Advanced Craft level workshop. That actually is the more important one since even if you are not at a certain level in one craft area or another, you will see what you need to learn. In a professional that seems to keep the upper levels hidden from view, knowing what is needed is very, very valuable.
And what might surprise you is that writing isn’t a straight line. You may be great in an area of advanced craft yet miss in an area of regular craft. And you won’t know until you let us take a look and help you.
Now I do understand the fear. I let fear hold me back for years. Knowing that there there is an area to learn about in the future is critical information for any of us. As Kris said to me a week or so ago when we were talking about this, she would have killed as a young writer to have this opportunity with two long-term professional writers. I agreed, I would have as well.
A personal story…
One fine day I was sitting in my bookstore with my feet up when Algis Budrys walked in carrying one of my stories I had just written a few days before. He was staying with me and saw a copy I had turned in to a workshop and had mailed out and he asked if he could read it since he hadn’t read any of my work for a year or so since I sold him a story at Writers of the Future.
So he walked into my store from the downstairs apartment, tossed the story across the desk at me and said simply, “You wrote it backwards.” Then he headed off on some errand.
It took me years to figure out what he meant. I asked him once and he just smiled and laughed and told me to figure it out. One day, about seven or eight years later, as I was reading a story someone had sent in for Pulphouse, I suddenly knew what he meant. I had written it backwards. Finally I could see the level of craft he had been talking about.
Well, in these workshops, if we see something like that, not only will we tell you, but we will explain ourselves to help you understand. And tell you how to go learn about what we are talking about.
In fiction there are levels. Let us show you the doors to the upper levels. Knowing the doors are there, the levels are there, is the critical piece of information, even if you don’t have a technique or level of craft mastered yet. If you know, you have the power to learn, instead of just drifting in the dark as I did for all those years wondering what in the world Algis Budrys meant by “You wrote it backwards.”