4 Quick Tips for an At-Home Writer’s Workshop
Writing may feel lonely at times, but having a support system is integral to any writer’s success. These support systems can be formed in a number of places, whether it be in school, at work, online, or through friends and acquaintances. Want to strengthen those relationships and get some work done? Writing workshops are a great way to help you meet your writing goals and become closer to fellow writers. If you’re interested in forming your own writer’s workshop and planning on hosting it in your own space, these four tips will help your event (or series of events) go off without a hitch.
Pick the right time.
If you’re going to host a recurring workshop in your home, be sure to choose a time that’s convenient for you (and for your neighbors, if you have any—having folks in and out of a creaky apartment building late at night might not put you on your downstairs neighbor’s good side!). You’ll also want to consider how often to meet, and for how long. Once a month, like every third Thursday for example, is easy to remember and stick with for multiple months. However, some groups may fare better choosing the next meeting time at the end of their last one. It’s up to you!
Field your participants.
The only requirement for a workshop is enthusiasm. Be sure to invite folks who show an interest in participating. If you’re looking for participants outside of your existing social circle, consider putting up flyers at local bookstores, posting to Instagram or Facebook, or even creating a meetup page!
Prepare your space.
Be sure to have enough seating for everyone to write and chat comfortably. Snacks and drinks are optional, and you can even invite participants to bring things to alleviate some of the burdens of hosting. Cozy lighting can help people feel more at ease as they share their work and provide feedback, and gentle background music can mitigate awkward silences if many people are meeting each other for the first time.
Create a structure.
Most writing workshops consist of four parts: a mini-lesson, writing time, mini-discussions, and group sharing. How long you spend on each part will depend on the number of people in your workshop and their goals. Some groups may choose to rotate a 5 to 10-minute mini-lesson each time, maybe one day opening with some thoughts on voice and another day considering word choice. Other groups may forego this part altogether.
For writing time, we recommend at least 30 to 45 minutes to give everyone a chance to get into a flow. Mini-discussions are opportunities for participants to share with a partner or group of three people before taking their work to the larger group. However, If your group is small, you may skip mini-discussions and go straight to the group! Regardless, it’s important that most of your workshop is dedicated to writing and discussing. Set a timer and stick to it to make sure you have time for everyone to share!
Remember, workshops are for growth, not pressure. Creating a friendly and welcoming environment will go a long way in making your workshop successful. Now go forth and host (and enjoy) a cozy, welcoming writer’s workshop!