Monday, July 21, 2014

How Introverts Survive Writing Workshops - and Matthew Goodman

Last week, I was able to attend the Antioch Writer's Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. 

It lasted seven days, and most days ran from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with only breaks for lunch and dinner. By Saturday night, I was used up. Introverts need down time - quiet to recharge. This workshop was not designed for introverts, although there were many of us there feeling the same way.

By the end of the week, I had bonded with the introverts (and the extroverts and a really interesting Benedictine Monk). Most of the introverts had come to the same conclusion I came to by day three - skip what can be skipped to provide a needed break from people and take refuge in a classroom during that time and hope that no one come in talking.

I skipped the morning poetry session because I'm not much of one anyway, and it was very interactive despite the fact there were close to 200 people in the auditorium.

What I didn't skip was an incredible series by Matthew Goodman, author of Eighty Days. He did a talk on creative non-fiction that has inspired me to write essays or a longer piece about my experience uncovering my family's past while doing the research for my novels.

Matthew was an incredible teacher and speaker - and didn't restrict his lectures to non-fiction.  Pretty much everything he had to say was relevant to fiction as well and was more helpful to me than the fiction classes. Of the whole workshop, his lectures are the ones that will stick with me. (Plus I got the opportunity to talk to him about the research I'm doing for my novel.)

He got a well-deserved standing ovation on the final day. Here's is his author page if you are interested. If you get a chance to hear him talk, do it.


  1. Glad you heard Goodman speak.
    I'd probably need those down times as well. A twelve hour day would be over my limit.

  2. Yep, I always skip something in the afternoon at conferences so I can go to my room and recover before dinner. But glad to hear you were inspired by a workshop on creative non-fiction. Inspiration is the best part of going to a conference. :)

  3. Wow, sounds like an intense workshop. I'd definitely need that downtime too.

  4. This sounds like a really intense workshop, and I would have been exhausted, too. I'm glad you decided to skip what didn't interest you -- or styles of presentation that didn't work for you -- and get what you wanted out of the program!