Rules and Expectations

The mission of The Writer Workshop is to provide useful feedback, critique, and educational opportunities to writers of all experience levels and voices in a safe and supportive environment.

The Workshop will be a work in progress and therefore the rules and expectations of the workshop will shift as necessary to accommodate the participants.

The foundation of The Writer Workshop is a supportive environment for all writers of all experience levels. The goal is to create a safe and comfortable space for the sharing of work, the receiving of feedback, and the learning about writing and publishing.

Here are a few basic ideas that help foster this environment:

  • Come prepared to participate. The workshop process works best for all involved when we actively participate and engage in the work of giving and receiving feedback.
  • Critique the writing, not the writer. (No blood on the floor).
  • Offer comments to writers about what works as well as what can be improved.
  • Just as Elmore Leonard recommends that we “write tight,” we should also “critique tight.” Get to the point, share your ideas, and move on. (Read the list.)
  • If you take a printed copy, mark it up. There’s nothing worse than getting back printed pages without comments. Printed copies are the best place to mark punctuation and grammar issues rather than taking up feedback time to talk about them.
  • When receiving feedback, don’t defend your writing. Ideally, the writing should stand on its own. It is strongly suggested and encouraged that readers should remain quiet while receiving feedback (unless a clarification is necessary). [This one is easier said than done…]
  • Contradictions in critiques happen all the time. So, writers should take the critiques that seem most helpful and resonate with them and their work in progress and leave the rest behind.