There were many tense and agitated dinners during our family vacation this summer. After one of them, I found myself herding my father and three sisters into the living room for a New York Writers Coalition-Style writing workshop. I mean, out of the five of us, three of us were pouting, and the other two essentially wanted to strangle someone (mainly themselves.) “Hold on”, thought I, during a stroke of inspiration amidst all the familial bickerage, “we should write together.” It was just something we all needed to do, as a family. Luckily, everyone rolled with the punches.
When it comes to our family vacations, things can get a bit fragile. Clashing personalities, intertwining neuroses, and long-held grudges often arise during these unrelenting doses of one another’s unending presence. Somehow, we manage, amongst the heaps of love and fights, to totally lose sight of each other. We needed something on our trip to remind us of how much we all love and respect each other’s minds. Luckily: writing workshops exist.
I used two prompts: “Describe your spirit animal” and “What Matters”, and both were a huge success, but are we really surprised? I officially recommend workshopping as a strategy for diffusing tension and bringing people together again, in pretty much any situation.
In your writing, bring conflicted people together through a writing workshop. Get as literal or as figurative with the idea of “writing workshop” as you like. Think about a family trip, or an NYC subway car (remember last year’s ACTUAL flash-mob subway workshop?), a diner on the side of the highway, the front lines of a battlefield, a colony on venus, or, of course, anywhere else you can imagine. Here is a link to the method we use we use in our workshops, for reference and inspiration.
Also: welcome back…we’ve missed you.