Get thee to a workshop!

I had no grand plans for today. I anticipated a moochy day at home, nothing special. 

I am so glad that non-plan got turned on its head. 

The phone rang at about 9.25am. It was someone from the library, telling me the workshop I’d put my name on the wait list for (and forgotten about) had a last minute cancellation, so I could go if I wanted to. 

Brilliant! Who’s running the workshop? Catherine Deveny. Hoorah, yes of course I’ll come. It starts at 10! Scramble. 

Bed to library in 20 minutes – including coffee made and enjoyed, and the application of make-up. And clothes. 

The workshop was phenomenal. Catherine was great – down to earth, telling us not to give a fuck what WE think of our writing, let alone what anyone else thinks. I’ll have to work on whether I totally concur with that one, but I know where she was coming from. 

Nineteen people, Catherine in a grouse red and yellow poncho, one room, and five hours. What a trip. What a rush. 

We talked and did writing exercises and watched a few clips on her lappy. We drank coffee and shared ideas and thoughts. We asked questions, found answers, saw the light and wrote about our teeth. 

It made me want to cry several times – and in the end I did. I frickin’ love words and people who grapple with writing them. 

I want to kill all the self doubt and the shrinking back and the obsession with formula, genre and worth, and stamp out the reasons why we let others pour water on our creative embers.  

I wanted to shake and smack almost every person in the room, then hug them and encourage them to JUST KEEP GOING! 

What a precious thing it is to find others who are like you, and not. Who love what you love, through their own prism and filters. 

So, while my head is pounding with ideas and exhaustion, I just wanted to say – get thee to a workshop!! It could be about rebuilding classic cars, or geology, or Franco-Italian ceramics – seek out the people who share your passion and put yourself in a room with them for five hours. 

It might just change your life. 


Thank you to whoever dropped out today, your loss is truly my gain. 


Annette x 


PS I cried in front of Catherine Deveny. I did. I welled up and told her I want to kill everyone and then bring them back to life. And I think she knew what I meant. How amazing is that? 

53 thoughts on “Get thee to a workshop!

  1. Really loved reading this great post Annette. so evocative and funny. I know exactly what you mean about shaking and smacking and keeping going. we really have to do that to encourage ourselves and others. thanks so much for sharing your energy! xx


  2. This was an ace post Annette – written so beautifully from the heart (my kind of writing 😉 ). I can’t wait for the two workshops I’m going to in September now. Write, write, write and then write some more. Yay for beautiful, joyful, heart breakingly moving words. xx


  3. Ah! Love you and your work! through their prism (!) beautiful! and re. the ‘kill everyone and bring them back to life’ …you express so well the sentiment of teachers everywhere. Sure you didn’t miss your calling Miss Nettie?! You encouraging heart is so wonderful. I love that you express so perfectly the frustrations of watching people destroy their own dreams. Dream, people. Dream, and DO! (And yes. Rachel. I am talking to you).


    • Hey Rach, I am not one for “missed your calling” – you may say that at my funeral, but not before! I loved today!! Loved it. And I would count myself in the group I want to slap and shake too. ❤️


  4. Annette, how can you just whip out a post like this in an afternoon as you so obviously have?!? Thanks for sharing the experience, she is definitely a writer I admire who is an amazing wordsmith, as are you! X


  5. Annette, how can you just whip up a gem of a post like this in an afternoon ?!? Thanks for sharing your experience of the workshop. She is definately an author I admire and a true wordsmith – like yourself ! x


    • Hey Ing, the post was 100% a response to the workshop. I just bashed it out in the library foyer. Spending too much time on posts like this isn’t my style, it would dilute the passion to draft, or second guess it for hours/days. Just pull the trigger!


  6. Great post! I am off to a photography workshop tomorrow. I was feeling a bit tired and wasn’t sure I was up to it, but you’ve enthused me again!


  7. Oh wow. This is great. You didn’t have time for self doubt you just got there and it was awesome. I haven’t been to a non work workshop in forever but I am getting more brassy about getting out there now. Love how much you loved it. Love how you talk about people who love words and writing.


    • I love that you’re fist pumping for me! That’s how I feel about everyone challenging their doubts and having a crack at expressing themselves. Thanks Emily!


  8. I totally know how you are feeling – I was completely buzzing after Gunnas. Catherine is SUCH a great motivator, so warm and witty. What lovely way to spend the day – and unplanned, even better. Thank god you had clean hair!



  9. A great review of the workshop Annette! And yes, I agree that workshops and courses do give you a great buzz. I did a business writing workshop on Friday. You would think it would be a bit of a grind right. And that I would shed tears of boredom. But it was run by a poet. And it was a grand adventure. I guess poets have to earn some cash. And I guess one should aspire to elegant business writing too.


  10. That’s a perfect Saturday, Annette! You made me laugh with your “And clothes.” It would’ve been tricky without them 🙂
    A xoxoxox


  11. Wow, what a wonderful-sounding workshop! So happy you had a fantastic experience, and hey… from bed to library within TWENTY MINUTES?! You deserve a round of applause for that feat alone!


    • They sure are Rebecca. The girl at the library told me I was a way down the waiting list but nobody else was free at such short notice. Thank you busy people!!


  12. Love a good writing workshop! This one sounds ace, and I’m impressed about getting from bed to library in 20 minutes – well worth it indeed! Great new header btw Annette x


  13. AMAZING!!! right there…. your energy was palpable!! I have just going now to read all about Catherine Deveny!


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