ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Workshops for Writers

Updated on November 20, 2011

If you're a writer and haven't heard of the term "workshop" by now, you're in for a news flash! If you plan on going to college for Creative or Professional Writing, "workshops" are going to be a part of your everyday classes. So, what are these "workshops?"

As a writer, you will be required to take writing classes, of course. These can be anything from poetry to fiction or journalism. In almost all of these classes, you will be required to write something - a story, poem, or maybe something else - and share it with the rest of the class for critique. This is a workshop.

Generally, workshops all work the same. You will be given a certain date when your writing will be "workshopped". This may be assigned to you, or you might be able to pick the date yourself. Either way, you MUST have your assigned writing piece in by this day. Most teachers ask for it the class before your date so they can make copies and hand them out to other students in your class. The other students will read your writing and form opinions and critiques. On the day of your workshop, students will tell you what they like, what they think works, and what they don't like, or what confuses them.

What do you get to do during this time? Nothing. You cannot speak while being workshopped. You may, however, take notes - this is highly recommended! Write down what people say - not just the bad, but the good stuff, too! This is important for you as a writer to see what works in your story and what doesn't. You may use your notes afterward to go back and fix what needs to be fixed.

Workshops are not intended to make you feel bad and should not be a way of attacking someone you don't like. You may not like someone's writing, but you do not have the right to criticize it (criticize, as in "trash it"). The purpose of workshops is to provide insight for the writer. As writers, we don't always catch things that make our writing confusing. Having other people read it benefits us. People may find things that you missed and will help you bring clarity to your writing. So, pay attention to what your peers have to say. It doesn't mean you have to redo the whole piece and use their suggestions, but take their suggestions into consideration. You will see that if one person finds a spot confusing, other people may as well.

At the end of your workshop time, you will be allowed to ask questions. Don't just blow this off and sulk to yourself! Ask as many questions as possible. Does the title work? Does the ending work? Does the beginning work? How can I make this more effective? What would you like to see more of? Anything not mentioned during the workshop that you would like feedback on is good to ask!

Your first workshop may seem scary. Maybe you're not someone who likes people to read your writing. But, if you ever want to make it in the writing world, people reading your work is a must. Don't blow off any advice or suggestions from others.

This also applies even if you are not being workshopped. If someone else in your class is, take the time to tell them what you thought of their work. Help them to make it better, and be kind about it. Chances are, they are just as nervous as you are.

Some Do's and Don'ts to Successful Workshops

Do: start off with something nice. I always try to start off the discussion by pointing out strong parts of the piece. I applaud the writer for their descriptions and word choices. These make people feel good. Starting off with negative feedback just makes things tedious for the writer and they may not realize all the good stuff in their work.

Don't: try to justify yourself. Let people say what they want to say and try to see things the way they are seeing things. You may know everything about what's going on in your piece because you're the writer, but readers don't have the same thoughts as you and may be missing out on some of those things.

Do: take notes and ask questions. This will help you a lot when it comes time to revise. You should have a lot of feedback to help push you in the right direction.

Don't: remain silent. If you have something to say about someone's piece, say it! As long as you are nice about it, of course. Everything will help the writer make their piece better. Even if you are pointing out a misspelled word, a grammatical error, or a confusing scene, don't hold back!

So, if you haven't had a workshop yet, hopefully this will give you a little insight on what they're all about! And good luck with your first workshop!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)