Ever had that sinking feeling when youâ€™re seated at an event, or God forbid, a play, and you realize itâ€™s an â€œinteractiveâ€ experience? The third wall is going down, baby. Thatâ€™s when I start to squirm. And above all, make no eye contact. The third wall is there for a reason. We like it.
I was eyeing the door within seconds of sitting down at a session at the RWA conference. For some reason, the title â€œImprov Techniques For Writersâ€ hadnâ€™t clued me in. I realized, too late, we were expected to improvise in front of the group. With a microphone.
You guessed it, the session ended up being a ton of fun. I laughed more in 90 minutes than I did all week. That alone made it worthwhile. The instructor, Denise McInerney, was lovely, relaxed and reassured us that there were no wrong answers. We played games, a la Drew Carey and company in â€œWhose Line is it Anyway?â€
McInerney shows writers how to use comedy improv techniques to loosen up and let ideas flow without self-censorship and fear. And yes, as we played we created a lot of nonsense, but that wasnâ€™t the point. The point was to banish your inner critic. Interestingly, McInerney, of the Washington, D.C. chapter, presented ideas other seminars at the conference featured, except she didnâ€™t tell, she showed: by letting you feelâ€”viscerallyâ€”how to â€œbe in the momentâ€ and take risks when youâ€™re creating. I certainly felt the adrenalin pumping. And realized how fear of looking like an idiot hampers the process. Iâ€™m still working on that one. If youâ€™d like to learn more, contact Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.