I go to a writer's group regularly. Last fall, I was in the Jenny McKean Moore Fiction workshop at George Washington University, and I participated in a number of fiction workshops in undergrad. And now I'm in a graduate program, and I'll be doing my first workshop session in a few weeks.
Needless to say, I am familiar with the concept of a workshop. I diligently read and critique each piece, making detailed notes in the margins and between the double-spaced lines and writing detailed comments on separate pages. I take this VERY seriously.
So - like many of my peers who take this VERY seriously - I get irritated when we workshop my writing, and all I get are a few bland comments, like "Good story" or "I really liked it" or "I think it's fine the way it is." I want you to rip my story apart! Tell me what doesn't work and what really caught your attention. I want to make my writing better! So bland, non-helpful comments tend to infuriate me.
I just read a great article that was included in the most recent Glimmer Train Bulletin (it's kind of like their newsletter for writers), title "Workshop Is Not For You". It really opened my eyes - I'm going to think differently about workshopping from now on! we workshop to become better writers through out critiques of others - not be getting feedback on our own work. If you participate in writing workshops, you need to read this article!
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Thanks for reading!