Workshops

I love to encourage, mentor, and promote other writers. So it just follows that I love to teach writing workshops. If you live or work in the Western Massachusetts/North-central Connecticut area, consider attending a writing workshop. Join one currently offered, hire me to teach a workshop for you and a group of your friends, or contact me to discuss creating a workshop to meet the needs of your company and employees.

Getting Started
For beginners
6 weeks, 2 hours per week
Class size: 6-10

Do you understand the basic components of good writing, have a strong desire to write, and want to meet on a weekly basis with other writers for motivation and support? Do you think of yourself as a beginning writer or one who has stalled out? This workshop will not only get you started, but it’ll give you information and inspiration to keep you going. You’ll explore the importance of journal writing, ways to build resources of writing ideas, and how to give and receive critique. You’ll also learn brainstorming techniques (we’ll try some in class) and some basic tips that will make your writing more powerful. And you’ll establish (or get back into) a regular writing routine. Writing exercises, for in class writing and take home assignments, will be given. Students may read their work in class (with critique by other students optional, but encouraged).

Getting Started Cram School
For beginners
One 3-hour session
Class size: 5-25

This writing workshop is a 3-hour version of the popular Getting Started 6-week course. It’s for writers who are newly interested in writing (and don’t know where to begin), always had an urge to write but never actively pursued it (and want to get started now), or have enjoyed writing in the past, but haven’t written in quite some time (and want to get back into the routine). Never fear that blank white page again! You’ll learn how to:

  • be organized and disciplined,
  • compile a reserve of writing ideas,
  • critique others’ writing and benefit by the critique you receive, and
  • find or start a writing/critique group.

You’ll also learn:

  • brainstorming techniques (we’ll try some in class),
  • why journal keeping is so valuable, and
  • some basic tips that will make your writing more powerful.

This workshop will help you get on the path of thinking and acting like a writer and will include writing exercises for you to use on your own time. An in-class writing exercise will be given with some students reading their work so the class may practice critiquing. Bring a composition notebook and a pen.

Buffing up on Basics
For writers who are just beginning or have some experience
10 weeks, 2 hours per week
Class size: 6-10

Come to this workshop if you understand the basic components of good writing, but want to exercise and strengthen that understanding. Each week, we’ll focus on a particular aspect of story writing, such as beginnings, points of view, characters, plot, dialogue, setting, and endings. This is not a lecture-style course. Rather, you’ll be given handouts with tips and information, which we’ll discuss briefly in class. You’ll learn by putting the information to work when you complete the take-home writing assignments given each week, then return to the next class to share your work with others. You’ll learn to develop your critiquing skills, and through critiquing, will learn to improve your writing. The workshop provides an opportunity for you to meet weekly with other writers for motivation and support and will help you cultivate a regular writing routine.

Maintaining the Practice
For writers who have some experience
6 weeks, 2 hours per week
Class size: 6-10

Sometimes a writer needs to meet regularly with other writers to maintain the discipline of writing regularly. Sound like you? Then this is the workshop for you. Each week, you’ll receive an assignment – a writing prompt to fire up your creativity and advance your skill. You’ll take it home, complete it, and return the following week to share what you’ve written. You’ll also develop your skill in giving critique and taking it, because examination and discussion of your writing – both what works and what needs work – is a valuable tool to help you become a better writer. Some in-class writing may be done if time allows. The workshop is an extension of the Buffing up on Basics workshop. Completing Buffing up on Basics before taking Maintaining the Practice may be a good idea for some beginners, but isn’t a pre-requisite.

Personal Stories
For writers of all levels of experience
6 weeks, 2 hours per week
Class size: 6-10

Do you like to write stories about your personal experiences and life events? Has your family recruited you to put the family stories down on paper? The six-week structure of this workshop will provide discipline to help create a writing routine and get those stories written. You’ll learn ways to improve your stories, such as quieting your inner critic; using emotions, details, dialogue, and senses to create stronger images and impact; and finding hidden memories. Take home writing exercises will be given. Writers may read their work in class (with critique by others optional).

Poetry Without Intimidation
For anyone who wants to read or write poetry for pure joy
One three-hour session
Class size: 5-25

What would you say if I asked you to read a poem? “Oh, please don’t make me do it!” Or, “Okay, I’ll read it, but I won’t get it.” If you want to love poetry – reading or writing it – but have always found it intimidating or frustrating, this workshop is for you. We’ll explore poems that are fun and easy to understand. We’ll look at word choices, the images evoked, and structures. But nothing complicated, nothing too deep – don’t worry. We’ll even write some poems together, maybe try a limerick or a pantoum. Don’t be nervous. It’ll be fun! You’ll leave the workshop with a newfound love of poetry. Intimidation be gone!

Please note: This workshop focuses on enjoying poetry; while it touches on the basic elements of poetry and includes writing exercises, it isn’t a how-to-write-poetry class. Writers and non-writers are welcome.

Exploring Poetry
For writers who are just beginning to write poetry or have some experience
Six classes (once per month for 6 months), 2.5 hours per class
Class size: 6-10

This poetry workshop will explore the elements of poetry (tone, meter, image, sound, word choice, etc.) and the various forms (sonnets, haiku, free verse, etc.). At each class, you’ll learn something about poetry, then get a take-home assignment related to the class discussion. You’ll be expected to spend the time between classes drafting at least six poems related to the assignments, perfecting one to share in the upcoming class. Bring printed copies of that finished poem for each classmate. You’ll learn how to give and take constructive criticism, and will put it to use when we critique the poems read in class. In-class writing exercises may be given if time permits.

Pushing for Publication
For advanced writers
Six weeks, 2.5 hours per week
Class size: 3-4

This workshop is for you if you’re a skilled and confident writer interested in submitting work to book, magazine, and/or online publishers. It’s an opportunity to meet with other serious writers to share news and information about the publishing world. You’ll learn the differences between small press publishers and big publishing house (and which is a better fit for you), the importance of knowing your role and being professional, and how to write query letters, cover letters, and synopses, as well as other valuable information about the industry. You’ll also provide critical and supportive feedback to one another. Each participant will work on perfecting one piece of writing, finding opportunities for publication, and submitting their work (or a query letter to request consideration) for publication. Writers should have a piece of work ready for critique at the first session and be prepared to give and accept constructive criticism that will direct themselves and other workshop participants to becoming published. (This workshop will not cover self-publication options.)

Book It Getaway
For serious writers with a book-in-progress
One full day (8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) per month for three consecutive months
(includes continental breakfast, lunch, and beverages)
Class size: 4-5

If you’re serious about getting that book done and can make a firm commitment to yourself and the other writers who participate in this workshop, consider taking this three-month intensive getaway. It will provide you with two valuable benefits: feedback on your work from fellow writers and a place to hide out from the world so you can work on your book. We’ll begin with a two-hour meeting (scheduled at a time to be determined) where you’ll introduce yourself and your project to other writers. Then you’ll meet for one full Saturday each month for three consecutive months. Ten days prior to each session, you’ll each submit a section of your work (up to 25 double-spaced pages) to your fellow writers and instructor. You’ll read and critique the work you’ve received and come to the session prepared to discuss it. We’ll spend the morning reviewing the work. You’ll spend the rest of the day in a private space working on your book, free from real world distractions. Continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and beverages are included. This workshop will be offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year (with summers off).

Weekend Writing Retreats
Lucy Mueller Young (an artist, writer, and certified art therapist) and I occasionally host writing retreats for women held at Hemlock Harbor, a private shoreline home at Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. Retreats include numerous writing workshops, morning yoga, a creative art project, free time, meals, and overnight accommodations.

When a retreat is offered, information will be posted here. If you would like to schedule a retreat for you and your writer friends (minimum: six writers), please contact me.

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