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Writing workshops that work

July 1, 2010

A good writing workshop will take your writing to the next level. Agreed? I’ve been a writing workshop junkie in my time, and mostly I just came out wishing I’d stayed home and written something instead. But two teachers have done it for me. What these people have in common is a passion for communication. For them, teaching is not just a sideline to their own writing. It’s another vital way to share their ideas.

Barbara Turner-Vesselago, Freefall Writing Barbara is a Canadian who gives workshops around the world, usually from three days to a week. She teaches how to get quickly into the deep zone of writing – a cure for writer’s block that works every time. A key to her approach is encouragement. People who’ve never written before come out with a writing habit, and seasoned writers come out and finish books. That was me with my latest novel. The scene I was struggling with resolved itself in Barbara’s workshop, and then the rest of the story just unfolded. I completed the first draft within weeks. I’ve done two workshops with Barbara now and am hosting one for her this year. Sorry, folks, it’s already full – she’s getting famous. Luckily, she’s always got another workshop scheduled.

Arnold Zable, Painting With Words Arnold is a Melbourne-based writer. He’s on about beautiful language and how to access it in your writing. You can learn how to ‘show rather than tell’ and cut down on adjectives by reading a how-to book. Arnold’s workshops go beyond technique. He explores how to turn your already competent writing into art. As far as I know, he only teaches in Australia.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Deborah Petersen permalink
    June 22, 2011 2:01 am

    I live in Australia. Do you know when another Barbara Turner- Vesselago workshop is scheduled?
    Thank you,
    Deborah Coulthard

    • June 22, 2011 5:01 am

      HI Deborah,
      There are three Australian Freefall Writing workshops in 2011. 11-16 September in Perth, WA, 23-29 September in Denmark, also in WA, and the one I’m running myself for Barbara in Point Lonsdale, Victoria, 19-23 October. I think you’d still be in time to book for the Western Australian ones. Mine is officially full (13 participants), but as someone always pulls out before the start, you could pay a deposit and put yourself first on the waiting list. You’d be pretty sure of getting in. See, under Calendar, for details. If you want to come to mine, I can privately send you all the details.

  2. Richard Wrigley permalink
    September 17, 2013 1:06 am

    Oh, goodness! I saw a flyer only yesterday for Barbara’s upcoming workshop in Castlemaine. I had never heard of her until that moment, during yesterday’s rainy afternoon, when with a glass of Cab Sav I sat idling in the basement of the Wheeler Centre.
    The time and money are not really feasible for me but it was thrilling to imagine. I’ll probably get her book. No substitute, I know, but all I can manage just now.
    But Arnold Zable. That’s a helpful suggestion. I’ll follow that up.

    • September 22, 2013 3:41 am

      Barbara does workshops every year in Australia, so you haven’t missed out. Please let me know if you come up with any other great writing aids. (Nothing works quite like simply filling up the empty page every day, though!)


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