Jo Scott-Coe’s final essays in series as Writer in Residence at Poets & Writers
Jo Scott-Coe, author of Teacher at Point Blank, was featured as a Writer in Residence at Poets & Writers for the month of December.
In her third essay, “Jo Scott-Coe on the Value of Workshops,” Scott-Coe remarks on both the pleasures in finding a workshop one enjoys, and on the sometimes mundane details one has to consider while searching for a workshop. She writes, “It helps to refrain from idealizing any one workshop session, series, program, or facilitator as the solution to all your writing needs. It also helps to avoid believing in an unrealistic outcome as the measure of value of a particular workshop (“If I serve the right tables at Breadloaf, I’ll get published in the New Yorker!” or “Just meeting with X will get me a job!”). Investing too heavily in a narrow outcome can distract from the focus of one’s goals—to keep writing, to get better, to fail better—and wastes valuable time and creative energy.”
Scott-Coe offers advice to other writers in the last essay of the series, “Jo Scott-Coe on How to Prevent from Being Just Another Pair of Grasping Hands.” Using her personal experience, she suggests, “For every one time you talk about your own project, talk up someone else’s latest thing. Sprinkle that love everywhere. This is easy and fun.” She also advises writers to keep grace and charm alive, to donate books to their event organizers, and to remember the power of saying “no” to projects—”Give yourself room to be selective, and let your “yes” mean something energizing for everybody.”
Be sure to check out additional writings by Scott-Coe and others on the Poets & Writers Readings and Workshops Blog.