Teaching a writer's workshop can be a rewarding experience for any writer. The good news is that you don't have to be a world-renowned writer or even have years of experience under your belt to run a writer's workshop. Here is everything you need to know about teaching a writer's workshop so you can both help your fellow writers and improve your own craft as well.
Teaching a Writer's Workshop - A How To Guide
Ready to take the leap and plan a writer's workshop? Here are the steps you need to follow:
Get to Know Your Students
The first step in getting a workshop like this off the ground is understanding who will make up the class. One of the most important things to consider here is the age. Do you want to teach younger children about writing? Teenagers? Adults? The approach you take with each group will be very different, from the materials you use to the level of writing the students will be capable of producing.
Decide on a Theme
Once you know who you will be teaching, decide what you want to teach them. If you have a specific strength as a writer, such as writing dialogue or writing poetry, then this talent might be the perfect theme around which you can build your class. Another approach is to pick a theme you want to learn more about yourself. For instance, if you're interested in experimenting with romance writing, you can create a class that focuses on that topic.
One caveat here: when you're advertising your writing workshop, be clear about your role as teacher. If the workshop is going to focus on a theme that you're well versed in and about which you'll be able to provide your class with advice and tips, you can bill yourself as a teacher. If you decide to go with a theme that you want to delve deeper into yourself, you can present yourself as a moderator rather than a teacher.
Choose Your Location
Where will you hold your class? A local college, bookshop or library all make great choices. Be sure to pick a space that will be in keeping with the size of class you'd like to hold - don't choose an auditorium for a five-person workshop.
Advertise Your Event
Now that you have the idea and the location for your writing workshop, you need to get the word out about what you have planned. Great places to advertise your workshop include your local paper, the websites and newsletters of any local writing groups, message boards at local bookshops, CraigsList and writing chat rooms.
Prepare Your Materials
This stage of the planning is the critical part. You'll need to get materials ready to get your students motivated. Here are a few things you'll want:
- A writing warm up topic - this might take the form of a brainstorming session to get the group going, followed by a few short writing drills.
- A few writing prompts for the group to work on - the number you need depends on how long your workshop will be and how much time you want the group to spend on each prompt.
- A print-out of the schedule for the workshop - it's a good idea to leave spaces on the sheet for people to make notes as you go through the day.
- A feedback sheet for the students to fill out so you can learn about what worked and what didn't
- An email sign up sheet so you can communicate with your students about future workshops.
Wrapping Up Your Workshop
Depending on the size of your group, sending each of your fellow writers an email after the workshop to thank them for attending makes a nice touch. This is also a great way to solicit ideas for future workshops, so you can keep the creative spirit alive among the writers in your community.