Review: World-Changing Writing Workshop, 2010 (Pace and Kyeli Smith)

Overview

The World-Changing Writing Workshop ran (online) during June – July 2010. Pace and Kyeli then packaged it into the “World-Changing Writing Workshop-In-A-Box“.

The Workshop consists of seven calls, around an hour long, where Pace and Kyeli interview various writers (including best-selling authors like Jonathan Fields and Chris Guillebeau).

There’s also a workbook, a number of writing exercises for you to do, and a bunch of bonuses.

The price

Normally $297.

What’s included

In the Workshop-In-A-Box, you get:

Seven recorded interviews, each around an hour long, with:

  • Chris Guillebeau, talking about how to build a writing career from anywhere and how to find the topics you want to write about (even if they don’t seem connected at first)
  • Jonathan Fields, talking about making people take action through persuasive writing (whilst steering well-clear of anything manipulative)
  • Danielle LaPorte, talking about the nitty-gritty of writing, with plenty of actionable tips and advice about different types of publishing (online, self-published, traditional publishing, and so on)
  • Colleen Wainwright, talking about how to draw in your audience with a great story (even if you think that your life is boring)
  • Jennifer Louden, talking about how to face the scary aspects of writing and move forwards gently and smoothly (she shares a wonderful poem on this, too)
  • Johnny B Truant, talking about finding your niche – even when you have to invent something new (and also giving great advice on being 110% yourself)
  • Pace and Kyeli Smith, talking about your next steps – how to keep doing what you’ve learned (with great, specific advice on writing manifestos – the blog sort, not the political sort)

Each of these calls comes with a warm-up exercise, a wrap-up exercise and a transcript.

A full workbook

The workbook is a great introduction to the course and companion guide along the way. It includes biographies of all the speakers, plus the exercises for each call.

Access to the forums

The forums are a great place to find a writing buddy or group, or get feedback. It’s a small intimate group (currently around 90 people).

Lots of Bonuses

As well as the workshop content, Pace and Kyeli have packed in a bunch of bonuses.

These include extra interviews with some brilliant writers, plus two ebooks – my own “The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing”, and Kelly Kingman’s “Sticky eBook Formula” (which I recommend to every ebook-writer I know).

Good stuff

There’s a lot of good stuff to say: I was hugely proud to have “The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing” included with the World-Changing Writing Workshop. J I could rave about the generous bonuses, the fun easy-to-listen-to style that Pace and Kyeli have, and the great workbook, but instead I’ll stick to the three things that I loved the most:

Great Interviewees

Pace and Kyeli have a fantastic line-up of writers in the Workshop, including best-selling authors Jonathan Fields (Career Renegade) and Chris Guillebeau (The Art of Non-Conformity). I won’t go into much detail here because you can read all the expert’s bios over on the World-Changing Writing Workshop page.

I’ve personally met around half the interviewees (in the course and in the bonuses) at conferences and they’re very intelligent, honest people with a ton of great advice about writing and life.

Beautiful Transcripts

I don’t like listening to audio and will always read a transcript when I have the choice. I get really frustrated when transcripts are huge wodges of badly-typed text.

The transcripts here are gorgeous – nicely formatted, with hesitations and “um” moments taken out, and subheadings put in to help break the text into clear topics. I found the transcripts really easy and engaging to read.

Advanced Advice

I find that a lot of writing advice is very beginner-focused, and I’ve actually unsubscribed from a writing magazine which I used to love, because it kept on covering the same basic topics.

Pace and Kyeli have managed to put together a workshop which is very accessible for new writers, but which doesn’t shy away from more advanced topics. The speakers focus on high-level concepts and advice (going into very specific, practical detail where necessary), and I picked up a ton of new ideas.

Bad stuff

As usual, there’s not much for me to say here – if I thought that the World Changing Writing Workshop was anything less than great, I wouldn’t review it.

However, there were a couple of things I’d like to see addressed for the 2011 Workshop:

Sound Quality

I feel a bit mean picking on this, because nearly all the audio products I possess have variable sound quality. It’s particularly tough in interview situations, because the interviewers (in this case, Pace and Kyeli) can’t control the equipment that their interviewee is using.

Some of the calls sounded just fine to me, others had issues like a “pop” at times on a couple of the calls, and a slight echo in one or two. Since I prefer to read transcripts, I don’t mind about the call quality, but I know it’s an issue for some people.

Let me qualify this by saying that the calls are totally audible; they’re just not absolutely perfect in terms of sound quality.

Mainly Non-Fiction Focused

Although a lot of the advice in the Workshop is equally applicable to fiction and non-fiction writers, there’s definitely a non-fiction focus. If you’re a novelist, short-story writer or poet, you may find that you need to do some outside-the-box thinking to apply some of the sessions to you.

(If, like me, you write a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, you’ll find that the Workshop is spot on. Jennifer Louden’s call, in particular, is very applicable to fiction writers. And if you’re working on memoir or autobiography you’ll find the Workshop very valuable, too.)

Verdict

Do you want to take your writing further – to touch readers’ hearts, and spread a message that has the power to change lives? The World-Changing Writing Workshop is definitely worth your time, and your money.

At $297, it’s not cheap. But you’d pay a lot more to get this material in other formats (such as attending a live workshop, or consulting one-on-one with the experts here). The package of bonuses help to make it reasonable value, and I’d say it’s well worth saving up for.

If you’re a very new writer, you may find the material a bit advanced or overwhelming – but anyone who’s had a little bit of experience will do fine. And if, like me, you’re an established writer making a living from your craft, you’ll still get a ton of great ideas from the Workshop.

Sounds like it’s for you? Go and check it out now.

(Note: I’m a proud affiliate for the World-Changing Writing Workshop.)