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My Background

Many writers have strong opinions about the worth of creative writing workshops. I am of the mind that they are as beneficial as you make them. I cut my teeth on workshopping my writing, first in university and later with the Online Writing Workshop, where the focus seemed equally on offering helpful critique as receiving it. The first time I had my work critiqued by pros in the field was at a Worldcon. It was generally eviscerating (not that the critiques were mean, but that they were so incisive), but even then I recognized how encouraging workshops could be. If my goal was to become a better writer, much less a professional one, I had to be able to take critique. I had to set aside my ego and that only became easier the more I gave my writing over to scrutiny. Editors were not going to pull punches even if they were going to be kind.

After my first novel was published, I found myself on the opposite “side” of the pro table at the same writing workshop offered at Worldcon. By now I knew that an ability to give a helpful critique was a skill in and of itself, one that could by its very nature also help my own development as a writer. I also realized that I enjoyed it; working with other writers is a kin endeavor to writing itself and our shared enthusiasm is fuel for my own writing. I have since participated in the Blue Heaven novel writing workshop, been the science fiction editor at the OWW, a writer in residence at the Shared Worlds youth writing camp, and a novel writing instructor at Sheridan College for many years.

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