“I’m in a little group, eight of us.” Even in her last years, the great Ursula K. Le Guin was workshopping her writing.
“I’m in a little group, eight of us, that write for each other and read to each other.”ursula k. Le Guin interview with John freeman, the boston globe
I hope I’ll be workshopping well into my next decades too. It’s such a great process to be able to engage in, to be able to share close and critical reading and enthusiastic conversation about a work that’s in progress. It’s not for everyone, of course, some people have a horror of sharing drafts of their work. But for others a good workshop provides all those good feelings of hope, anticipation, relief, and the encouragement to do the hard yards of deeper reflection, rethinking and rewriting.
My Summer 21 Writing Workshop— the first one I’ve run since leaving three decades of university creative writing teaching—came to a close last month. It was an out and out success, for everyone involved. It was a truly great three months of seeing the writers’ work develop, and the conversations and discussions about the work deepen. The workshopping was online and face to face via zoom, and included other supportive lessons and prompts. In our own group of eight, there was a diverse range of kinds of writing, from contemporary literary adult, to a sci fi western, contemporary romance, diverse speculative, YA fantasy, and autobiographical fiction. Some of the group began with manuscripts under revision, others began completely new works and met their aims of having the new work well underway by the close of the workshop.
Here’s a taste of the feedback that the writers shared with me.
‘Thanks Jane, As always your comments are so insightful. I’ve been struggling with this conundrum … throughout the whole novel.’MC
I have found these workshops perfect for me in the amount of contact and the feedback. Highly recommended. Jane Messer is a highly skilful and experienced teacher and mentor who enables each participant to achieve at the highest level possible.KL
This workshop was the best thing I’ve done in a long time. It was very well organised, with a fantastic writing portal, whereby we had fortnightly lessons and could post our work and critique others’ work.SM