Writing can be a solitary task. Sometimes it is difficult to get a good perspective on the manuscript you’re producing. One solution is to seek out other writers and join with them in a writing group or workshop.
A recent interview between Kate Bittman of the New Yorker and actor James Franco, star of films like Milk, Pineapple Express and Howl. Their conversation which appeared in the magazine’s online Book Bench focused on Franco’s newly released story collection Palo Alto.
Franco said he had written for years, but had only recently begun showing his work to others. When asked, what was the best advice about writing he had ever received, he said, “I suppose it’s finding good mentors and good readers; people who will give you a good sense of what you’ve written, because you can’t always assess it on your own.”
About five years ago Franco discovered writer’s workshops when he could feedback from fellow writers about how to sharpen his writing skills.
“Once I started enrolling in writing workshops and had people reading my work, it immediately gave me a new perspective," he said. "I was suddenly writing to communicate with others, which made all the difference. I no longer cut corners. I could no longer judge my work by its potential. Instead, I had to listen to how it was being perceived by others. I could no longer fool myself in isolation.”
The advice and support provided by members of a writer’s workshop can make the difference in whether a project gets finished or not. It can almost certainly make the manuscript you ultimately create better.
You can locate online groups or groups in your neighborhood with a quick Google search.
Click here to read Kate Bittman’s interview with James Franco.