If you are like me, you are probably already familiar with writing workshops. You know, the kind where everybody meets up and goes over each other’s writing, providing helpful comments and critiques. I think that there’s value to this approach; but for me, it had the effect of stalling my writing. How could I incorporate everyone’s comments when they were often contradictory? Cary’s workshop was different. The AWA approach used in the workshop had the effect of removing all of my writing road blocks. His writing prompts kept me intellectually engaged and allowed my innate creativity to flow. It just works – like magic!
But that’s not the only reason to attend. I am used to working in isolation. I don’t interact with other creative writers in my day-to-day life. Something about this workshop managed to attract an amazing group of people, talented writers all. These are people who you would want to spend time with; people you would find yourself gravitating towards at a party. It was revelatory!
My advice: if you are on the fence, go for it. It’s a bargain. —John B.
More praise for Cary Tennis:
I was writing descriptions without events, like jokes without punch-lines. The workshops led me to try more active, engaging and complex storytelling. I gave up some fixed ideas about what kinds of writing I do and what kinds of writing are worth doing. After a while a novel erupted. — Anonymous
I avoid workshops because of the damage they can do to writers. Cary’s workshops are nothing but helpful, quietly and subtly leading writers to do their best in an open and welcoming environment.
— Randy Osborne, Author of Big Pinch World, Made of This, and a forthcoming memoir
It was a cozy place with all of us talking across borders. I felt charged, and my imagination took me to various lands. I could be myself. I had thought I was a certain kind of a writer and then suddenly I wrote about a Pterodactyl and I was like “Whoa… who wrote that?
— Geetanjali Dighe, Mumbai
I hadn’t done any real creative writing in years. If only I could find a workshop where my writing wouldn’t get ripped to shreds and I wouldn’t feel like a loser idiot. Cary’s approach is flexible and supportive. The prompts take the work in interesting and unexpected directions.— Lorri Leon, Pacifica, California
Nobody waits with a red pencil, nobody judges. The comments are limited to what rings true, what strikes your imagination. After a while I noticed I was writing to feel that ring of truth for myself. — Leslie Ingham, Palo Alto
We write together. We’re all in the same boat. Now I’m a writer, because here I am, writing. I wouldn’t take a class from anyone else. I wouldn’t let anyone else see inside my head.
— Judy Evans, Los Angeles
The rules protect the often fragile and sensitive nature of writing. Cary is the ultimate host and leader. I’ve been in writing workshops for over twenty years. This one, by far, is the best. Norma almost always bakes amazing snacks, and the dogs provide a little levity. I would urge anyone to attend a series of these workshops and feel your soul begin to expand.
— Julia Penrose, Half Moon Bay, California
The structure is creative and supportive; I like it so much that I’ve been back every week. Writing is part of my life now. I look forward to those two hours of group writing each week, both to spark my own creativity and to hear the amazing things others write.
— Molly Mudick, Phoenix, Arizona
We write in warm surrounds of vibrant voices from far away places in an intimate cyber-circle. We write of things, ideas and stories that lure and propel. Cary guides us to ways of knowing each other and remembering ourselves. It’s where I breathe deeply and write.
— Treva Stose, Annapolis, Maryland
“A writer is someone who writes.” Hearing that line every week and reading my writing aloud, without fear, made it come true. I write. I am a writer. I want to be a surfer… A surfer is someone who surfs. I’ve been surfing since May 2010. I dance harder and smile while I’m moving and twisting my body, because that is what dancers do. I am a dancer. I took pieces of wood from the basement and painted them and hung them on a fence. It’s my gallery. Open studio is tonight. Or tomorrow. Or whenever anyone passes by. … I am an artist.
— Shannon Weber, San Francisco