Now that the new year has begun I have been asked repeatedly whether I’ll lead any winter workshops for writers. Since we live where it’s snowy and cold I’ve decided it’s too difficult for me, and likely for you, too. With all the snow in the past week, I am ready for a road trip. gentle snow

I’m headed to Tampa tomorrow where I’ll offer an intensive workshop, “Writing Through The Tears,” at Camp Widow, sponsored by Soaring Spirits International. 

When I return next week I plan to begin a moderated online writing workshops using a private Facebook Group. Each participant posts 500-1000 words once a week for 10 weeks. I post three writing prompts once a week, though you may submit anything from your work-in-progress. Each week you read the others’ work and provide written feedback.

This is a small group of writers with whom I’ve previously worked. We’ll start in mid-February and it runs through April. There is room for three or four more participants if you are interested. Please let Susan Tripp know before February 10 if you would like to join this moderated online writing group for $100.

Simple rules to participate:

  1. Copy and paste 500-1000 words into the status update in the private Facebook Group each week.
  2. likeRead what others have written in the group.
  3. Hit the like button if you read someone’s work. (An acknowledgement of getting something written and read.)

In the comments:

  1. What works? It is very important to know what you have done well. Identifying your strengths can help you build upon them. Without positive feedback, your inner critic may undercut your efforts.
  2. What needs work? Constructive criticism lets a writer know where they need to help the reader to comprehend and appreciate your work. 
  3. What questions are raised? What did you want to know more about? Knowing from readers what additional information they need is critical to taking your work to the next level. Figuring out what the reader needs to know and when they need to know it is a challenge for any writer. Feedback can help.

IMG_1029Most important rule: Respect one another as writers.

Arrive with a mindset that we are present to help one another as writers take our craft to the next level. Remember the critique is of the writing, not the writer. Rewriting or fixing someone else’s text is not helpful. Provide detailed and specific comments instead of adjectives. If you say it is boring, what makes it boring? Offering helpful suggestions is always welcome. Asking questions of the writer is also encouraged. It is important to arrive with a mindset to receive criticism. No draft is perfect. Refrain from getting defensive or taking comments personally; accept them professionally. Listen. Not only to the criticisms of your work. We learn from each other. Wait before you revise and reject others’ remarks.

“When people tell you there’s something wrong with a story, they’re almost always right. When they tell what it is that’s wrong and how it can fixed, they’re almost always wrong,” Neil Gaiman said. Listen to what others think doesn’t work and figure out how you want to fix it. In my moderated writing groups, authors must take ownership of their writing. 

Writing is a solitary activity. Writing groups can make it less so. 

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