Have you ever been told, or feel like, you’re a natural storyteller, but when you try to translate those characters and their actions to paper it falls flat?

Maybe you turned to books that you’ve heard can help you with writing the story that’s been ruminating in your mind, like Save the Cat!, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Wired for Story, or any of the multitude of books written to help struggling writers figure out how to structure a readable story.

After you feel like you've gotten as much as you can from that material, you reread your work in progress. You can see the improvements, but you’re still not sure someone would pay money to read it.

The shining ray of hope is you realize it’s still a good story. Maybe even a better one than the idea you started with. This gives you confidence to look for more resources to improve your writing.

As you dig deeper online, you find courses and workshops by writers, teachers, coaches, and editors that will help you with every aspect of transforming from a storyteller (where you don't have to dig as deep into the characters, their motivation, and plots) to a writer (where characters, motivation, flaws, subtext, flow of plots and subplots to drive your reader forward, all need to be examined and fleshed out).

As an extra bonus, the program you signed up for might give you access to a private group or Zoom calls where you can interact with the instructor and other participants. With the support and camaraderie of being with others who are going through the same journey you are, the pace of your progress is ramping up.

After completing all of the assignments and months of being active in the program’s group, you feel the mindset switch from telling a story to writing a book. But, even with the group chats and video calls, you’re still sitting at your desk–or “your” table at the local coffee shop–by yourself.

If there's anything we've learned over the last few years is that personal interaction can be so much more powerful than online or video.

So, if you've gotten everything out of blog posts, books, online courses, and video workshops, the next logical step is to look at an in person retreat to get more inspiration, motivation, and support.

In my next blog post, I’ll look more closely at the differences between writing courses/workshops and in person writing retreats.

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