takeaway from jessica zafra’s AMA

for those who asked, some random head trauma from the freebie Twisted workshop:

(1) if you’ve stopped reading the good stuff, you are doing yourself a disservice. one thing zafra hasn’t lost is her enjoyment of books.

(“fuuuuuck this is really good, i wish i wrote this!” is a good indication that you’ve just read a good book. since i haven’t felt this way recently, i’m missing out.)

certainly, zafra hasn’t neglected her “internal” life. even her travels are ways to rediscover herself.
a strong sense of self also means a strong, distinctive voice.
don’t lose it.

(2) on the other hand, another’s perspective makes for richer material. stay interested in people.
the most unprepossessing person could have an epic story that needs telling.
dig deep. wear someone else’s skin for a change. borrow their eyes. eat their brains.
(okay, that didn’t come out right, but writers aren’t exactly strangers to zombie behavior. or cannibalism.)

(3) every amateur writer worries they don’t have a good story.
IMHO what writers should be worried about instead is not telling the story we want to–the way we want to–before someone else “steals” it…and worse, botches the telling. ha!

(4) every professional writer, apparently, is struggling with:
(a) writing stuff that they don’t really like writing but are paid to write; and
(b) not having the time or energy to write what they want to write (especially after spending the entire work week writing the stuff that they’d rather not write).
in short: burnout blues.

i related so much that i’m starting to think we should create a series of therapy sessions instead of writing workshops.

(5) “be bold, and mighty forces shall come to your aid” is the phone call quote that “freaked out” russell hammond in cameron crowe’s almost famous–and that everyone at the workshop blanked on (a clear indication that prolonged exposure to traffic congestion causes brain loss). another quote from that movie: “…hey,  i met you. you are not cool.” would you believe me if i told you that jessica zafra still is?

zafra, whether or not you like her style of writing, has a brilliant mind. one trait you see in good writers–and especially good  editors–is the ability to parse information and extract what makes for a good story. they’re able to give the right approach and/or structure. that’s a talent and a skill. making you laugh in the process is a side benefit.

so yes, by all means, contact her directly if you need someone to give a writing workshop. the lady has earned  her stripes after 30 years of writing. that’s practically 86% of my entire existence. gotta respect that.

besides, zafra burned a major bridge when she canceled the rest of her workshops at the ayala museum. let’s hope this freebie workshop unleashes the minions to do right by her. the lady has massive balls, but no retirement plan (i asked). and writers, even the talented, well-established, and super-cool ones, are undervalued. pretty twisted, yes.

(P.S. nicked the glasses pic from here: http://www.shopzerouv.com/collections/optical-rx-eyewear. these aren’t the pair she wore at the workshop. but thanks shopzerouv!)



One comment

  1. ZAFRA SAYS (nicked from her blog):

    You and your group of up to 20 (even 30) people can book your own workshop on any of these subjects:

    The Essay
    The Short Story
    The Personal Essay (Memoirs)
    The Novel
    Writing for Beginners
    Movie Reviews
    Travel Essays
    Interviews and Personality Profiles
    Feature Articles
    Writing Refresher Course
    Starting A Book Club

    Each workshop is tailored to your requirements, and can take from one to four two-hour sessions.

    Workshops can be held at your office or a venue of your choice. If you do not have a venue in mind, we can book a conference room in Makati for you.

    For inquiries, or to book a workshop for your group, email saffron.safin@gmail.com.

    – See more at: http://www.jessicarulestheuniverse.com/#sthash.oUSdG4Jm.dpuf

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