Review : Feelings Workshop

Press Room blogger, Alex Bennetts, reviews Voiceworks’ Feelings Workshop.

Just as it can’t be the National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) without the constant dread of a sudden hail storm, it can’t be NYWF without the Voiceworks team hosting a workshop!

This year, Voiceworks’ editorial committee (AKA, EdComm, AKA, the people who keep the friendship bracelet industry from going under) held a workshop called ‘Feelings’, though I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be in all caps, like, ‘FEELINGS’.

Because Voiceworks is a literary journal designed for young writers, its job isn’t just to support the work of these upcoming artists, but to support their health too.

Led by editor Kat Muscat, a few dozen sat snug around the workshop table, hashing it out. I wrote out the word FEELINGS in big letters on the top of my page as it felt appropriate. Have you ever seen a room full of young, hopeful artists writing down an emotional thought, a la a journal entry? It basically looks like any other room of people handwriting. Prompted to express our internal weather vane, I wrote about noodles instead. Hunger is a powerful emotion.

EdComm then led the room through practical exercises, starting with list making. Break it down! Make a weekly list of what you want to write/make, and then make daily to-do lists to break it down further.  Don’t over-burden yourself, but don’t over-indulge yourself in time wasting on the internet! Set goals and hi-five yourself! Keep healthy! Separate your writing time and your hanging-around-with-housemates-time! It’s OK to rush off to write down a writing idea in a social situation if you’re not a douche about it!

Though a workshop called FEELINGS has the risk of turning into a group venting session, the discussion led to a lot of genuine answers and advice. Maybe it’d be careless of me to say you had to be there, but… you had to be there, man. I can direct you to a topic discussed, though! It was Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech, of course. Go watch it, and get yourself some feelings.

We finished the workshop by writing something overly emotional or angry, as a kind of personal catharsis. This kind of writing – all feelings and no consideration for audience – is useful now and again to get everything out. Editors don’t want to read or publish your angry journal rantings, so maybe just scribble it all out in a fury and then see if you have a story to actually tell.

What’d I write? “I am DISAPPOINTED that I didn’t get to eat any lunch.”