What Is a Writer's Workshop?

Writer's workshops can help new writers.

What is a writer's workshop? It's a question that crosses the mind of many novice writers. Find out everything you need to know about how these workshops can help you find your voice and become a better, more confident writer.

What is a Writer's Workshop?

At its' most basic level, a writer's workshop is an interactive learning experience that helps you to develop your writing skills and focus on your work. Writing workshops can be of varying length and targeted at various age groups. Some teachers start running very brief writing workshops in their classrooms for students attending elementary schools, while some writing workshops geared towards adults stretch over many days.

Workshops can also take many different forms:

  • Genre based workshops: These focus on helping writers develop a certain style of writing, such as horror writing, romance writing, biography writing, and so on.
  • Theme based workshops: These workshops are designed around a writing theme, and participants create works based on the theme.
  • Literary-device based workshops: Writing workshops sometimes focus on a particular literary device or a component of writing, such as developing characters, creating dialogue or even effective use of similes and metaphors.
  • Post-writing workshops and seminars - These workshops are designed to help you figure out what to do with your work once the writing is complete. Things like how to approach publishers and intellectual property/copyright laws are popular focuses for these events.

With so many different options on the table, what is a writer's workshop that will suit you? The answer to that depends on a few factors. Beginning writers often benefit most from workshops that are less concerned with working within a specific genre or with a specific literary element that from those workshops that give novice writers lots of practice with different styles. Newbie writers usually need help finding their comfort zone with their writing and their confidence to share it with others, so basic, general writing workshops are best for them.

For writers with a little more experience under their belt, your writing goals will determine the best events for you. For instance, if you know you want to get into comedy writing or screenplay writing, workshops that let you work within these formats will be best for you.

Where Can I Find a Writer's Workshop

Big cities have an advantage when it comes to sheer volume of writing workshops, but these events are surprisingly widespread. If there is a college or university in your area, check out their continuing education department, where you're likely to find a number of writing courses. Your local library is another good source of information for events for writers.

Most states and many cities have writers' groups/societies that host workshops. To learn about groups in your area, visit your local bookshops or search for them online. Shaw Guides has a good database of events.

Last, but not least, consider attending an internet-based writing workshop. Although the personal interaction is obviously less than attending an event in person, internet-based courses are good learning tools and are especially handy if you're in need of some inspiration to get you writing again. Some popular courses include:

A Word of Caution about Writing Workshops

Writing workshops can be expensive, and not all events are created equal. Anyone can call themselves an expert and host one of these gatherings, so before you shell out your hard-earned cash, do a little bit of research. Find out who will be leading the seminar, and if possible, dig up some past reviews from other attendees. Following these steps will help ensure you end up at an event that really teaches you some new, valuable skills.

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What Is a Writer's Workshop?