We write. We revise.

Making Workshops Work

As the workshop facilitator, I will do a regular post of workshop inner workings.  A student once told me, “A fish rots from the head.”  She meant it as a compliment, that our group was working so well, that I must be doing something right.  That I hadn’t ruined it.  That, maybe, just maybe, I keep the rot away.

I wear many hats as a workshop facilitator.  Besides fish keeper, I am teacher, coach, therapist, mom, editor, scheduler, party planner, nose wiper and sponsor.  In return, I get to read 10 great books and collections and become completely engrossed and invested in their growth, which includes trials and tribulations.  Scrapped knees to suicidal tendencies.

Monthly or so, I will post thoughts on all these hats and advice on writing groups.  I been running this workshop for over 10 years, with much success as each writer has grown by leaps and bounds.  But it has never been easy.  Fun, yes.  Easy, no.  Besides teaching classes at UCSD and UCLA Extensions, New York State Writers Institute, Idyllwild Writers Institute and other workshops across the country, I have found that teaching an ongoing group produces many other issues that never come up in a classroom, or if they do, they soon disappear when the semester ends.  Here, I will divulge the lessons I have learned to keep the morale boosted, the momentum flowing, and the writers challenged and craving more.  I did not do everything right, that is for certain, and I’m still learning.  But along the way, with adjustments and growing pains we have seen such great work come out of this workshop that if the cohesiveness hadn’t happened, I believe we wouldn’t have seen the artists in my living room swell with talent.

Last year I was asked to present a talk at the AWP conference on Writing Workshops.  I realized as I wrote that talk how much I had learned.  This is where I’ll share that and more.

Stay tuned for posts on this site.  And first and foremost, read all the great writing in the posts from the group members posted weekly.

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