“I won’t be reading anything out and I don’t have time for homework,” I said on the phone to the creative writing tutor at the local adult education centre. Gently, she told me that most people enjoyed and wanted to do any homework she set, but at any rate it was voluntary. I asked for the centre’s refund policy, strong armed a friend into coming with me, and handed over my credit card details for a term’s fees. Two and a half years after that, I finally stopped going and set up my own group with writers I’d met at the class. Now, ten years later, I’m running workshops at the Bookshop in East Grinstead.
Creative writing workshops can take many different forms — learning a specific style or genre of writing, critiquing and encouraging each others’ work in progress, or just writing together in a group.
My HoneyLeaf workshops are going to involve writing in response to prompts and exercises with no feedback, comment or criticism. A bit of sharing what you’ve done, with no pressure.
- We will write together from prompts and exercises that I bring along
- You can write whatever comes to mind
- I will invite you to share what you’ve written, but you won’t have to
- There won’t be any feedback or criticism on what you choose to share
- Everything that is shared will be treated as confidential
- We will assume all work to be fiction unless you say it is autobiographical.
These principles are based on my experience of writing workshops with my original creative writing tutor and local writer, Andie Lewenstein, as well as Pat Schneider’s book Writing Alone and with Others and her work with Amherst Writers and Artists.
I have to say Andie was right — I loved the homework and was often bursting to read out what I’d written as I was surprised and pleased by what appeared on the page in the company of other people scribbling away together.
“Writing with others and listening to the writing of others can give you the courage to take greater risks, to tell more truth, to trust your own instinct. Writing with others can strengthen your nerve.” Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and With Others