Attending a workshop for your art can be stressful. What if your work doesn’t stack up with the other participants? What if they cover something you know nothing about (or worse, too much on)? There are a lot of fears that can hold someone back from going. But the perks such events offer is invaluable and well worth swallowing your pride for.
Criticism can be hard to take, but it’s a major step in the artistic process. Admittedly there are some that just spew hate under the guise, but genuine constructive criticism can really improve your work. Missed a step during your dance routine? The coach will let you know. A character suddenly appears in a scene? Another workshopper will help you. Having a fresh pair of eyes can make your end piece as close to perfect as possible.
NEW WAYS OF THINKING Nobody shares the same world view, and their interpretation of something could be drastically different from yours. Fellow workshoppers may offer a startling unique view on your piece than what you see it as. Maybe they hear your sonata as less a love story and more a tale on agonizing loss. Your painting representing war and famine is an abstract examination of the seasons changing in their eyes. Being exposed to new points of view can offer new insight and ideas.
MAKE FRIENDS Finding someone with the same passion as you is always a treat. Workshops are a terrific way to meet other people with shared interests in your area. Granted, it’s not a guarantee that a friendship will blossom, but it never hurts to try. At the very least, you’ll be able to find a colleague and someone who understands your “shop talk,” as it were.
NEW SKILLS If the workshop is recurring or follows more of a class-type layout, it’s entirely possible to learn something new. Even if it’s not designed for teaching, it does not make an educational experience impossible. For example, a pottery course may have you using a type of clay you’ve never experimented with before. A choir could introduce you to new keys you haven’t sung in yet. It ties in with the different points of view, to some extent, as others may have more experience with the skill or topic in question.
MOTIVATION TO WORK When you have an audience, you’re more driven to complete your project. Being part of a workshop is great for providing such motivation as it’s a promise someone else will view your work. Again, if the meetup is held multiple times and additional content is expected each time, it’s all the more incentive to create more. It’s not a surefire way to fight creative block, but it can certainly help.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES It can be difficult to get your work out there without an agent of some kind. Workshops can help you gain exposure by introducing new ways to publish or otherwise showcase your work. The leader of the group may know of a magazine looking for new content writers, for instance. Your fellow attendees may also have opportunities to share with the group, making it especially worthwhile to bond with others.
HAVING FUN Most importantly, workshops are meant for growth and enjoyment. Even if you find your work not improving drastically, you may still have a valuable time attending. When you’re happy, your productivity and creativity increase. Admittedly, some creative types work better when they’re depressed, but it’s not true for everyone. A brighter mood means better content, and isn’t that the goal of a workshop to begin with?