Importance of writing at heart of Plain Community Writers Workshop

— Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Several hundred writers gathered in Holmes County, Ohio, for the Plain Community Writers Workshop on March 7 and 8.

The event, now in its fourth year, filled the annex at the United Dayspring Church in Berlin, Ohio. Planned by a group that included Emily Hershberger, David Kline, Amy Schlabach, Reuben Shetler, Sue Weaver, and Milan Wengerd, the event brought together speakers and offered private classes for those looking to polish their skills.

Delbert Farmwald gave the keynote address. “Writing is nothing new,” he said. “Writing is as old as Moses himself.”

He asked the group to tell him why people write, and the answers ranged from telling a story, to inspiring others and to teaching a lesson. “It all boils down to gifts, and writing is one of them,” he said.

For some, the event was one that allowed them to pursue a passion. For others, it was an opportunity to meet other writers and publishers who may be able to give guidance and share opportunities for publication.

An interesting twist to this year’s event was the homework assignments. Writers chose from one to three paintings to write about on a single sheet, front and back. They will submit their writing back to the group.  The collected writings will then be turned into a book and mailed to the participants.

The group learned about some of the classic authors like Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy and Emily Dickinson. The values of fiction were also expressed. Ben Troyer shared a bit of hyperbole from his wife, who noted that he had brought in enough straw from the barn for to bed a box stall, despite it being only a mere handful.  Reuben Shetler focused on the need for children’s literature for the Plain communities.

Shetler noted that the event was a success and several writing groups have been started. Some meet in person while others correspond by mail or email. Those in attendance were encouraged to sign up for a group to continue writing growth after the event ended. An organizing group will meet soon to plan the 2025 workshop.

A longer version of this article appeared in The Budget’s Closer Look section on March 13.

Beverly Keller

Beverly Keller is the Closer Look editor at The Budget.

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