The Power of the Word: Writers Workshop

You mean to say what you mean to say. But somehow, it doesn’t come out the way you intended.

Miscommunication swirls all around us – in text messages, in tone of voice, in email, in the spoken word. And mostly, in the written word.

My father always says, “Out of your mouth, printed,” meaning, once you’ve uttered the words, you really can’t take them back. How many times have you said or emailed or texted something you wished you hadn’t? Or that it was received in not the kind and loving manner you intended?

Starting in two weeks, I am leading a New York-style writers workshop this fall. It’s for those writers who want to be published or who are working on a novel or writing a book or seek to improve their blogging.

It’s also for those everyday folks who just want to communicate better.

When you think about the words we utter, we don’t choose all that carefully, really. We speak before we think, all the time. We respond from the gut, emotional reactions instead of well-thought-out carefully worded statements.

Yes, I know, we can’t live in a state of hesitation and preparation. But there are ways to communicate better all around us, if we just slow down and focus.

I love to write. I am so much more comfortable around words than people sometimes. And yet, I can’t believe how many miscommunications I commit. It happens only when I don’t focus on the words.

I simply love words. Really love them. The way the letters look together, the idea that there is a better word out there that I can find and use.

When I first got into public relations, I worked with a client who was brilliant and poetic. I wrote his blog for him, and then we spent at least a half hour at a time working on it – editing, discussing sentences, looking for the right word. I think both of us sat at that table with the papers in front of us just so we could linger longer over the words.

It was one of the most fun projects I ever worked on.

Back when I was in graduate school for poetry, I spent whole weekends with my classmates poring over poems and stories, debating the choice of a word here or a phrase there. What I love most about poetry is that you don’t only get the meaning in the words but you get the way they look on the page and also the combinations of words that have meaning in them, thanks to carefully selected line breaks.

Any time I get to work with words I am happy. And so I can’t wait to welcome 10 talented souls into my workshop this fall and work toward every single one of them achieving the writing goals they’ve set.

There is room for you. Here is where you register.

My friend and mentor, Susan Shapiro

When I lived in New York, that first year out of college, I took the subway down to Greenwich Village every Tuesday night for a writers workshop in my friend Sue Shapiro’s apartment. We crowded in the living room, surrounded by bookshelves as tall as the ceiling and stuffed with books Sue had reviewed or friends had written.

There were New York Times writers and aspiring newbie journalists like me all in the same room. I loved it. The energy, the feverish love of words and how they go together, the aching need to tell a story to the world and have it received fully and with wisdom.

There is nothing better than deep storytelling that moves another person to change or to thought or to tears.

Or just a great flowing story that takes you on a journey out of your life and into someone else’s so that you feel you have actually traveled into another time, place and heart.

One sentence at a time. One word at a time. One careful meaning. Step by step, you’ll get there. I promise.

Consider joining me. It takes place in Huntington Woods, Michigan. Here’s info and where you register. I have 4 spots left.

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