Writing, and teaching writing

There are a lot of excellent teachers of the craft and trade of writing out there, particularly in my genre, fantastic fiction.  Many writer friends of mine teach writing, either occasionally, or as their main money-earning career. On Thursday and Friday I was up at Jeanne Cavelos's Odyssey Writing Workshop, in New Hampshire, where I was a guest speaker for a day.

I have always been reluctant to add that particular arrow to my professional quiver, for a few reasons.  First is the fact that there are so many dedicated, talented, and hard-working people already providing the service. The second is that I have a day job, and another skill set, in content marketing, that pays the bills, so any spare time I have I want to devote strictly to the creation of fiction. And third is probably that I did not come up through the residential workshop structure that already existed when I was a new writer, in the form of Clarion, and so have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about being a free-range writer, idiosyncratic and unpolished, with no stake in the system.

Then I try something like a day at Odyssey, and have more fun than I've had in a long time. I do like to perform, and I do have opinions about the writing of fiction, and it was fun to do both with a group of interesting and intelligent people. In some ways, I am at my best when volleying ideas back and forth with other people. Ideas come to me that wouldn't emerge any other way. And, yes, I do like the idea that something I worked out with a student might actually stimulate their own ideas, and lead them to come with things they otherwise would not have.

So, maybe, I might try this more, we'll see. I do need to be careful to position myself in this market as what I really am, kind of an outlier, not necessarily trustworthy or a good example to emulate, but someone who can be entertaining and fun while being respectful of the individual needs of the writers he deals with. Call me the Crazy Uncle of writing workshops. With a well-written warning about potential side effects, I could actually be useful.