Before you should decide whether or not taking part in a writing workshop is right for you and your writing you should first understand just what a writing workshop is.
A workshop is an educational format where an expert shares information on a focused topic over a short period of time. Some workshops are intended to be simply informative while others involve more hands-on activities. Today there are many options for enjoying a workshop: you can attend workshops in person, view them on television or tape, or participate in an online workshop.
So now that you know what a workshop is you can see how this format can readily be adapted for writers. Writing workshops can cover the basics of writing, writing challenges, topics related to publication and careers in writing, or specific research subjects. Some of these programs are featured as part of larger events, such as conferences, while some groups or individuals offer them as one-time events. Some organizations, institutes and educational programs offer workshops to their students or members while others open those workshops to the community at large.
Why would a writer want to attend a workshop? What benefit could it be?
Join the writing community. One of the strongest benefits you can receive from attending such a gathering is getting to know other writers. Writing is a solitary profession and can be very lonely. Enjoying the company of other writers and talking about writing with people who really understand your joys and worries can be wonderfully energizing to you personally as well as your writing. You can also make contacts that may lead to support and growth of your writing or perhaps even professional advancement. You never know when the friend you make today might be in a position to recommend you to an editor or publisher down the road.
Learn something new. No matter what level your writing career there are always lessons to be learned from other writers. Sometimes there are research strategies and shortcuts or perhaps it is a method for dealing with writer's block. You can learn market news and contacts as well as important information about reviewing contracts. Workshops are generally geared toward a specific genre or market niche and offer a wealth of specialized information depending on whether you write about crime or food.
Improve your craft. Generating new work or revising existing pieces is often a large part of attending a workshop. Sometimes you must bring something with you, create a project as part of the workshop or are inspired by the gathering itself. Sometimes talking with others or listening to the presenters causes you to suddenly rethink a stalled project or inspires a new one. Whatever the impetus there is definitely an increase in production after attending a workshop and that is the surest way to improve your word craft.
If you have not taken part in a writing workshop in the past then perhaps you might consider doing so in the near future so you can join the writing community, learn something new, and improve your craft.