One of the best reasons to join a local chapter of the RWA is the availability of workshops and access to the wider knowledge pool. I firmly believe that if I leave a workshop with one new piece of knowledge then it was a wildly successful workshop.
Saturday, I gave my first workshop in front of my peers. It was a lot of fun! We discussed self-editing and the different, tips, tricks and comments I’ve developed over the years. Putting together the workshop reminded me of all the comments I’ve received and what I’ve learned from each of them.
When I was in school, one of the studying techniques my teacher’s espoused was summarizing what we’d learned. It was a way of processing the information she gave us, but in our own language. It reinforced the lesson and helped us apply the information going forward.
His Pants Tightened
Building a workshop helped me do much the same thing. Despite the fact that I think I gibbered like a gibbon (I tend to bounce while talking or rock back and forth or move across the room from side to side while making eye contact and I blame four years of speech and drama for this little tick), I realized that I actually had a lot of fun, because I was remembering the little things that brought those lessons home.
For example, if you use the same phrase over and over again in your work, it’s worth commenting on. In a recent piece that I wrote, one of the character’s kept experiencing his pants tightening. If you counted how many timed they tightened in a single chapter, the man should have been chopped in half!
Editing helped me catch it this time. But I’m not going to forget it because in my notes it says “his pants tightened” – and that means it’s time to check for those overused phrases.
What do you do to help reinforce the lessons you’ve learned?
btw, I’m over at Romance University today talking about ways to avoid author nervousness when you making an appearance.