On June 26th, writers journeyed from across North America to Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas, to attend the first ever, No One Told Me How to Write Workshop. They didn’t know it yet, but each one of them already possessed writing talent beyond their expectations.
Their short pieces stunned me with depth and richness. They sounded like masters who should be teaching me. It’s the same thing I’ve seen all over the world whether I’m teaching kids or adults. Writing becomes incredibly powerful with an unleashed imagination and a focus redirected to active verbs and nouns that create instant imagery.
As the workshop progressed we shared our stories. One woman had been told by an aptitude test that the one thing she couldn’t do was write. She could have easily been a professional writer. Another continually proclaimed her lack of ability, yet produced combinations of words none of us had dreamed of. Their occupations included an investment banker, lawyer, veterinarian, real estate agent and project manager. Those occupations belong in a joke set in a bar, not a writing workshop.
I showed them the secrets to creating introductions, conclusions, editing, rhythm and rhyme and interesting characters. At the end of the 2nd day’s lecture I led them through an exercise to create their own book outline. Each one accomplished the skeleton structure of their first book in 30 minutes.
As a final treat and learning experience, we put on a cooking competition in Engelbrecht House, the student mansion where we all stayed. Guys vs. girls with a full complement of raw ingredients and one requirement: the use of mango in every dish. The composition of flavors grabbed our tongues and forced us to eat too much. Vicki and I returned home with a week’s worth of yumminess.
I’ve posted some of their work below. Click on the link to read each one. None of them identified themselves as writers before our class. All of them possess ridiculous talent, just like you. You don’t have to wait for someone like me to teach you.
“Victory Over Nature” – Stephen Alport, Canadian Financial Investor
“Like His Father Before Him” – Kyle Young, Non-Profit Project Manager
“On Our Way…” – Kristen Van Engelen, Real Estate Investor
“Secrets Within Secrets” – Oz Jaxxon, Houston Veterinarian
“A Washer Woman’s Request” – Teri Shapiro, Austin Attorney