The Writing Workshop at Twin Farms
My Experience at a New Hampshire Writers Workshop
In the summer of 2008, I attended the Twin Farms Writing Workshop in Wakefield, New Hampshire. It was a week of growth as a writer and a wonderful networking opportunity. Titia Bozuwa hosts these writing workshops regularly at Twin Farms each summer.
There are several formats. The series I attended lasted four days. The instructor was Sarah Alcott from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro. I hightly recommend a writers workshop for anyone wanting to advance their writing skills. The workshops at Twin Farms are perfect for this.
Networking - at the writer's workshopClick thumbnail to view full-size
One of the Writing Exercises
my draft from the workshop
For this exercise, we had the trigger of one word to work from. Mine was "ALONE." There was a time limit, so you didn't have much time to ponder what you were going to write. Here's my piece:
"Many times even when I'm with people, and yet I'm still alone. The group activity goes on, but I'm not in it. I'm inside my head, inside my body and present in that space with those other people. Yet, I'm alone. My thoughts don't match the activity. Perhaps it is similar to an out-of-body experience where I stand like a shadow, observing the action, the discussion and even observing myself.
It's not a left out feeling. People don't ask me if I'm daydreaming, so I must give a reasonable impression of being in sync with them. Still I have gone away to some place inside myself that is alone. A retreat, an introspection, a safe haven. Within myself, those spaces exist."
The Afternoon Sessions Were Held in the Historic Wakefield Library
Critiques by the other participants helped me see areas to improve.
Photos from the Sessions in the Wakefield Public LibraryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Titia Bozuwa Organizes the Workshops at Twin Farms - Here are her books (available on Amazon)
- In the Shadow of the Cathedral - Book Club Guide
Looking for a fascinating memoir for your book club? This one opens discussions of WWII, Holland, and childhood memories. Take a look at the questions here to get a lively discussion going.
The writers became quite close during the workshop and stay in touch even a year later.
Making the Most of a Writing Workshop - My recommendations after attending the workshop at Twin Farms
Zazzle graphic: Swallow and Scroll with Writing by busybees
Making the Most of a Writing Workshop
A writing workshop can challenge and inspire you. It can turn a wannabe writer into a real, words-on-paper writer. Here are ways to get the most from attending a writing workshop.
Do your homework. Often participants get a writing assignment to do before the first class. Read the directions carefully and write the assigned piece. Don't wait until the last minute or there won't be time to polish it. Let it age overnight, then read it with a fresh eye and make revisions.
Be willing to read your writing to the group whenever the leader asks for for a volunteer. Modesty won't get you the valuable feedback you need. The workshop provides a great opportunity to get immediate response to what you write. Take advantage of that.
Listen to the other participants when they make suggestions for your writing. Don't immediately jump in and refute their ideas. Our instincts are to protect and defend our fledgling efforts. Our words on paper are precious to us. Listen. Make notes. Ask them to elaborate. Listen. Mull over their ideas. Whether you change the piece or not, it's important to listen to what they say. Exposing our writing to others and then learning from their input is an important part of a writing workshop.
It's not all about you. Pay attention when others read their work. Think about what might improve the piece. Be sure to give a positive comment, before diving in with something that might be criticism. Remember they want your help and input, but don't crush any writer's hopes and dreams. Ideally all the writers at the workshop will be candid, yet considerate when offering a critique.
Trust your leader. When given a writing exercise to do during the workshop, put your all into following the directions. Don't discount it as not being your genre or not fitting your writing needs. It might surprise you or shift your thinking. Give it a try and you may discover that you enjoy writing poetry more than you expected or that you have an aptitude for another writing form or style that's totally unexpected.
Ask questions. Don't start a writing exercise without clarifying points you didn't understand. Maybe it's a literary term or you aren't sure what free-writing means. It's better to ask than to end up going down the wrong track.
At the end of the workshop, share your contact information with other participants and ask for theirs. Keep in touch through email or even an annual let's-meet-for-lunch. The bonds formed in the workshop among writers make a valuable network for you. Keep in touch and e-mail them to ask about their writing and share your efforts with them.
By making these efforts, a writer can find a writing workshop experience inspirational and a time of growth.
Celebrating the Successful Workshop with Champagne
Want to Start Your Own Writing Workshop?
Even if you can't attend a writing workshop, you can use a book like this to guide and develop your own writing.
The Twin Farms Writing Workshops have been discontinued so you can no longer attend those.
Creating and Managing a Writing Workshop
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Preview Online My Book about the Writing Workshop at Twin Farms - in Wakefield, New Hampshire
Back for a Visit
Read Other Writers' Experiences at Workshops
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- The Pros and Cons of Writing Workshops
After being hesitant on joining a writing workshop course, I've learned that they can be both good and bad in some ways. Here, I'll explain some of my personal pros and cons, as well as some examples using my work.
© 2010 Virginia Allain