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Writer's Block Workshop

Home > Melbourne > Psychology | Books and Writing | Self Help
by TheOnlyFiona (subscribe)
In real life, I do discuss food exactly like how I write in my food review articles. As always my food reviews are scored only on what I've tried and the service expected of that type of establishment.
Published April 8th 2014
Relationship therapy for the writer and their writing
Either Dr Jui-shan Chang (pronounced Rui-shan) provides an in depth method to tackle writer's block or she psyches you all into thinking positively about your writing. This workshop is designed for those who want to take charge of their writing. Those who are serious about their writer's block, as you get as much out of this workshop as you put in. Think writers' group therapy.

I naturally assumed that this workshop was aimed at creative writing i.e. fiction. I was surprised to find my cohort was very diverse - writers who were academics, philosophers, masters/PHD students, journalists and a fellow Weekend Notes writer (shout out to Leona Devaz).

[ADVERT]Naturally my next thought was really, academic writing? Why would you bother, it's so boring? Creative writing is the hard, worthwhile genre otherwise I wouldn't be spending over a decade trying to get it right. Therefore I became confused over A, why would non-creative writers take this course, and B, how much time is going to be devoted to tackle academic writing therefore time being taken away from creative writing?

The first exercise was getting our problems with writing out into the public space i.e. Jui-shan's whiteboard. I was the last person and I pondered over how long I'd have to look interested until we got to the good stuff; the problems about creative writing. While initially I thought this would be really boring, I had an epiphany, no, two epiphanies:

A. My problems will seem really boring to the academic writers, who don't care about creative writing;

B. The genre might be different but the problems are the same, or at least very similar.

I found myself relating to the others' problems with writing. By the time it was my turn I realised I had most of the same issues with my writing. I even chose to throw in a few hard problems in there.

Problems with writing confronted by participants
Problems with writing confronted by participants

Next came the conventional strategies to tackle writer's block. Obviously they don't work (for everyone) otherwise I would just need the internet's numerous writing exercises to get started. I liked how Jui-shan broke down some of them to highlight the flaws, explicitly the reasons why they didn't work for me. The key idea to take from this was these strategies work for those who have an idea about what they want to write about. These strategies are not too great for someone who is puzzled as to where they should begin.

What came next was a plethora of metaphors. The most important one was that the relationship between you and your writing is like a serious long term romantic relationship, a true, obvious and simple way to describe the writing process. In Jui-shan's 20-years-in-the-making model, which I like to call the Jui-shan model, she teaches you just how to use this metaphor to flesh out your ideas and process of writing.

Similarly, never underestimate the power of visuals. Whether it is whiteboard writing and diagrams or metaphors for mental imagery, the visuals were a big part of Jui-shan's teaching style. Her workshop deals with many psychological issues/common beliefs that cause writer's block. These are problems in the realm of the average writer that can be quite vague to tackle. The humourous accuracies between Jui-shan's metaphors and examples really helped to clarify our list of problems. The strategies were simple to follow and the ability to name and manage your problems is oddly empowering.

The workshop was fun and positive. It was interesting to view writer's block as a symptom of a psychological problem at play. The visual aspect of the workshop assisted in the psychological approach to the hedonistic nature of writing. Hopefully I'll be able to reacquaint myself with my love and focus on the positives.
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Why? Tackle writer's block with a psychological approach
When: Please check regularly on the website as courses are run occasionally
Phone: Dr. Jui-Shan Chang is available for individual consultation, she can be contacted by email, juishan.chang@gmail.com or phone 0403 931 097
Where: The University of Melbourne
Cost: Various
Your Comment
Great article. I am quite sure that this kind of workshop would help me with my writers block. I think I also need to attend other types of workshops too, like self love, handling depression, just to start off with. Thank you for your article. Did it help you to start writing more?
by CassandraJoy (score: 3|1021) 1469 days ago
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