Daniel Joshua Rubin talks on writing

Rubin’s online workshop will wrap up the annual Jewish Arts, Author, Movies and Music fest

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Is writer’s block preventing you from moving forward with that book proposal? Term paper? Grocery list?

Author Daniel Joshua Rubin wants to help writers rediscover their creativity and writing chops via an intensive workshop for authors of all levels.

The workshop takes place virtually at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21. It will close out the 2021 Neustadt Jewish Arts, Author, Movies and Music (JAAMM) Festival held by Denver’s Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center.

Rubin, 53, of Evanston, Illinois, has worked with Emmy and Tony Award winners and has written for television; new media, such as The Motley Fool and National Lampoon; and theater, with plays produced at Steppenwolf in Chicago and off-Broadway in New York City. He has taught dramatic writing at Loyola University in Chicago and at the University of California-San Diego.

Attendees of Rubin’s workshop “should expect a really, really fantastic way to approach writing, so that you’re using the principle structure to drive people into the truth of who you are and what you feel,” he said, adding that attendees should also expect an “engaging way to think about structure.”

Rubin is demanding of himself, he said, questioning the quality of his works while also calculating their value.

“I’m going to be painfully honest,” he said when asked of what he was most proud. “I think I really damaged my career by trying to do too much.”

He credits people such as Bruce Springsteen and Stephen King for sticking “to that narrow lane with the thing they do,” Rubin said.

“I can’t say enough about how critical that is: What medium are you working in? How does that medium work best? And how are you going to maximize that medium?” Rubin said, adding, “I encourage writers to think which one of these is suited to your talents and interests.”

Rubin’s workshop ties in with the publication of his new book, “27 Essential Principles of Story: Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park.”

“The 27 principles I teach cover every subject. I give you the principles you need so that you’re always moving forward and know what you feel,” Rubin said. “When you’re writing, you’re always solving problems, whether it’s how to start or how to finish strong.”

Those planning on attending the Dec. 21 workshop should be prepared to be challenged, Rubin said. He believes the purpose of being a writer “is to confront the truth of who you are, what you feel, how you respond to defining experiences (and) what you truly feel politically,” he said. “All this stuff takes a tremendous amount of courage. You may write something now that down the road, you don’t agree with. (For) the people who like what I’m selling - it’s fun, but it’s also heavy. We’re not playing pinochle.”

During the workshop, Rubin will be asking personal questions about defining experiences and providing a “massive amount of ideas about how to move forward,” he said.

“I give you enough guidance to always feel confident and know where you’re going and to build momentum,” Rubin said, “but not too much guidance that it stifles your creativity.”

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