Use a writing workshop as a starting point

I have always been an avid reader. What I didn’t realize about myself until recently, however, is that I also love to write. Writing can be used for numerous purposes. It can be a healthy outlet for working through an emotion. It can allow people to organize their thoughts and prove (or disprove) a point. It can be used to voice an opinion. It can also allow others to propel themselves into another world or to curb their curiosity about someone (or something) that they once knew nothing, or very little, about.

Consider the amount of books you read in a month, in a year. And then ask yourself–why not put your own thoughts, dreams, or opinions into print?

At first, I thought it a daunting task–to express myself on paper. But then I looked back at how much writing I had already done throughout my life–an innocent diary entry when I was in junior high; a thesis in college; a case brief in graduate school; an angry (and quite therapeutic) letter to someone to whom I couldn’t express my emotions verbally.

If I have any desire to write, I should pick up a pen (or a keyboard) and just start. Perhaps you should, too!

I realize now that, if the writing is for me, I should not be concerned with how others will receive what I have to say. If I have any desire to write, I should pick up a pen (or a keyboard) and just start. Perhaps you should, too!

If you are anything like me, though, you will want to know where to start–whether you are writing just for you or for the public. Here are some online and local writing workshops in which you can participate, as a start.

  • Turning Journal Entries into Polished Pieces, Editorial Freelancers Association
    Mondays and Thursdays, November 30-December 10, 4 p.m.
    Online (4-session webinar)
    For more information and registration, visit www.the-efa.org (event calendar)
  • Writing from Healthy Starts, Editorial Freelancers Association
    Tuesdays, December 1-December 22
    Online (4 sessions)
    For more information and registration, visit www.the-efa.org (event calendar)
  • Fiction Writing For Beginners, Auburn University, Montgomery
    October 31, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    For more information and registration, call (334) 244-3804
  • Short Story and Novel Feedback, Auburn University, Montgomery
    November 1, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    For more information and registration, call (334) 244-3804
  • Creating Your Novel, Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham
    December 1, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    For more information and registration, call (205) 856-7710


Note: Here are two other Alabama colleges that do or will offer the same (and other) writing workshops.

  • Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, (205) 391-2323
  • University of North Alabama in Florence, (256) 765-4862

The workshops at Shelton State take place this month, and there are none currently scheduled at the University of North Alabama. However, do keep checking back with them, especially if these locations are most convenient to you.

Whether you have already fallen in love with writing or just want to get your feet wet, these workshops are a good starting point. There are numerous classes out there, so be sure to ask for the complete list of available workshops.

As a last thought, do not let these classes be a one-time thing. Continue to participate in them, as they are good stepping stones to boost your confidence and to structure your thoughts. And, if and when you’re ready, these classes will also teach you what to expect should you end up wanting to pursue writing as a career!

Written by: Béverly B.