Seeing the enthusiasm and budding talent for writing on this forum, I was wondering what people thought about setting up a mini writing workshop on
If we did it once a week say, and everyone posted something, a story, a poem, a paragraph; things they are having problems with or wanted help or
advice on, then other people could write their opinions and weigh in with constructive criticism. That way, writers could get feedback on stuff they
wanted and the gesture would be returned when the critic posted something.
I was thinking along the lines of rotating workshops leaders so everyone gets a turn to lead the workshop in the manner they think best.
It would be an invaluable, not to mention fun, resource for the ATS writing community and would take very little MOD or board supervision. We could
all self-regulate and clean up after ourselves.
It wouldn't have to be an elite writing type thing either - anyone who wanted help with their writing could contribute and different genres would be
respected. Rules would have to be into place obviously, like how long your piece should be or what you expect to get out of the workshop. In addition,
timing is essential. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to read your story/work the minute you send it off. Usually things are sent a week in
advance to give everyone a chance to prepare, but this being online, I supposed we could think around how would work.
As far as criticism - I know a lot of people shudder or assume 'constructive critique' equals flattery or false praise. Nothing could be further
from the truth. People would have to be very careful about how they state negative criticism. I think it has its place, but tone is very important.
You don't want to put people off or make them feel terrible about their writing. I for one do NOT want any part of that but telling something their
story is good is als misleading and in the end harmful.
Workshops are quite good as you learn a lot from what others say - you also learn a lot about your own writing from analysing the writing of others:
such as what to look for, how to sharpen your stories and how to make improvements - extremely helpful if you have looked at your writing for so long,
you no longer know what to change.
We could also do writing exercises. I have tons of helpful books with great things to get your mind going. I have experience attending and teaching
writing workshops - so can suggest all manner of silly and serious exercises. A lot of them are quite good for 'warming' up before you start working
on your own piece.
I'm sure others here have been on workshops and that is why a rotating 'chair' would be ideal. So no one person is pressured to do it all the time
and we would all get a chance to lead. We can get a fresh perspective every week. Plus you could lead the discussion how YOU want it. Some writers are
interested in narrative, others in voice or POV, others want to talk about the simplicity of language or the importance of prose.
Think about it and let me know if you would like to participate. Writing is a very lonely and isolated experience - workshops are great because you
get to occasionally come out of your shell to comment, discuss, critique and observe the writing of others as well as your own. I think the contests
are great - but IMHO there needs to be far less competitive writing and a more supportive environment than the one we have now, especially for those
who are just starting out. I know the collaborative writing forum is not top priority on ATS, but they've provided the space and opportunity and
goodwill. I think we should take advantage of it while it's there.
This may not work or it may - I say we can try it out if you like and we can set-up a rota for turns and who wants to lead the workshop.
I think the best workshops are those where the people are really enthusiastic about writing and inspired. I have experience with face to face, email
and web workshops, both teaching them and being part of writing communities - They usually work well - with a few notable exceptions. But again,
boundaries and guidelines are important to set at the outset, so there is no confusion.
Anyway - if you think this might work vote yea with the little icon thumb - and if you think it is a sucky idea - you can say so as well and send me
to the lions.