Writing with Pen

ABOUT WORKSHOPPING THE WORKSHOP

How can we make creative writing workshops work for everyone?

What are the elements of a successful workshop experience? 

How can we become better workshop contributors?

How can we design and lead successful workshops?

About the Forum

This forum is dedicated to exploring best practices and tips on how to optimize the creative writing workshop experience for all participants, including student-writers and instructors. It is a co-learning communal space for the exchange and discussion of theories and practices of peer review in the creative writing workshop context—to study and critique traditional workshop methods, and to explore and propose new and alternative workshop approaches. In essence, this forum's aim is to workshop the workshop model—critically and creatively.

About the Editor

Writing is my life-long passion. I’ve been a writer in myriad contexts, forms, and languages. I’ve written academically, producing scholarly research papers as an undergraduate economics and political science major at Columbia College, and then engaging in legal scholarship and briefcraft writing while earning my J.D. degree at Columbia Law School. Professionally, I've engaged in a gamut of legal writing—client memos, contracts, briefs—during my fifteen years as an international corporate lawyer in New York and Hong Kong. I’ve written op-eds and legal-social commentary pieces for newspapers, law journals, and law and finance trade publications. Since 2020, coinciding with the global pandemic outbreak, I've been transitioning to writing of a more artistic, self-expressive nature, and will be soon enrolling in an MFA program in creative nonfiction at Columbia’s School of the Arts. My literary interests focus on queer and trans narratives (and counter-narratives) toward the goal of shining light on historically silenced and neglected stories. 

Co-Learning Space

I’m by no means an expert workshopper and I do not pretend to have all the answers. In fact, I bring the perspective of a relative newcomer to this field, though I have participated in my fair share of creative writing seminars, workshops, and writing groups, ranging from the “traditional” live and in-person workshop seminars at universities to synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning settings. My main impetus for creating this space is that I strongly believe in the power of well-designed and well-conducted workshops to help writers bring their works to the next level. Reflecting back, I’ve been fortunate to have had (mostly) great experiences in my workshops—by which I mean, I felt like I received actionable and thoughtful feedback from my instructors and peers and was able to learn from and provide feedback to my peers' works in a collaborative co-learning environment. I hope to share my observations based on my experiences and research in this space. Just as important, I look forward to hearing and learning from the wealth of experiences of forum participants. Like in a workshop setting, I invite everyone to share their insights and observations in this forum, with generosity of spirit and consideration.  

Our ultimate goal here is not to dismantle the writer's workshop model but to reimagine itto rethink our methods and approaches so as to improve the experience for all participants.