Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Point of View- The Writing Workshop Fiasco

Let me preface this entire post by saying that I went to the writing workshop that was being presented by Sophie King (a chick lit novelist and journalist) with the best of intentions. It did not go as planned.

As a blogger who has been at this for just shy of three years, sometimes I run out of ideas, sometimes I need a bit of inspiration, and sometimes I just can't get the creative juices flowing. I went to the writing workshop at Cybermummy hoping that I would learn some techniques that would help to spark my writing fires, which have been simmering at just above ember levels lately (sometimes it feels like you have written the same thing over and over and over again). I didn't get that AT ALL. In fact that first half of the session basically had NOTHING to do with writing at all.

The first part of the session was spent on blog names or as Ms. King referred to them as "titles", now, I have been 3 Bedroom Bungalow for nearly three years. I have no intention of changing the name of my blog. My blog name is part of me. The Bungalow is my little slice of the Internet where I can write about my life. Ms. King did not seem to understand this fact about bloggers at all. Seeing as how she is a novelist and journalist, I let it slide.

At one point something sparked my interest and I raised my hand. Maybe I should have kept it down because by this point I had seen Ms. King suggest that a few people change the name of their blogs (including Nickie from Typecast) and say that writing about your disabled child wasn't really all that interesting of a subject because it wasn't really that topical (how insulting is that?). I don't really know. So, I explained how Dear So and So was a feature on my blog and explained the link up (meme style) and how I had participants each week...yadda yadda. Then she sort of cut me off. She then suggested that "Dear So and Whatever" -with a flip of her hand- should be an entirely different blog. At this point I sent out a couple of tweets.

"I'm sorry, but this writing workshop is rubbish"

"I'm sorry I don't have time to write 5 different blogs"

I tried to start paying attention again. Ms. King seemed to be transitioning into actual writing tips but they seemed a bit rubbish as well. I tweeted again based on one of the tips we were given.

"Writing funny rhymes/limericks? WTF? #cybermummy11 #rubishworkshop

and

"Apparently if you have a new idea, you need to start a new blog" #rubbishworkshop

I had no idea that these tweets were being broadcast on the big screen at the Pampers PR table. NO IDEA. I found out about that later and was a bit mortified, really.

At this point I felt I had been insulted and patronized. I wasn't learning anything I haven't already figured out in the past three years. Have I mentioned that I have been blogging for three years? My friend and I decided to leave.

OK, this is where I guess things went really tits up. Do you know how hard it is to leave a conference room when you are loaded down like a Sherpa with bags? I had on a rucksack and was carrying the swag bags that we were given upon entrance to Cybermummy AND a shopping sack with crisps in it. It wasn't exactly a graceful exit. I didn't mean to be loud when I left AT ALL. I just didn't want to waste anymore of my time.

*I* wasn't getting ANYTHING from this workshop. *I* paid £100 for my ticket to Cybermummy another £50 for my room at my hotel and another £30 for my train ticket down to the event. I didn't have a sponsor, all this money came out of my own pocket. I was really irritated (to the point of wanting to curse at Ms. King) because this session was a complete waste of my time and frankly my money. I had been insulted and patronized; probably not even intentionally. As far as I was concerned there were other things happening at Cybermummy where I may have the opportunity for me to actually learn something or enjoy my day; so I left.

I had no idea that others would leave.

If you got something out of this writing workshop, I am really happy for you. I heard it got better towards the end when Ms. King started focusing on writing. You know, what she should have focused on since she is a novelist/journalist and not a blogger (or at least not a blogger who regularly blogs).

Let me note, that I did go up to both Susanna and Sian, two of the organizers of Cybermummy and tell them why I left. I apologized for my bags being loud when I left. Anybody who knows me knows I am not mean or malicious; I was irritated but wasn't intending on it being a big deal. I did not intend it to be overtly rude. I just wanted to go enjoy the rest of Cybermummy. And I did. This was the ONLY negative experience I had the entire day.