Workshop participants will primarily interact with each other in an online discussion forum. With the intention of creating a safe, supportive, and creatively constructive online space, I kindly ask participants to agree to the following participation guidelines. Please let me know if you have any specific requests or would like to add anything to these guidelines to suit your needs.
- Confidentiality: Do not share another's comments or work outside of this class, including content provided by the facilitator. Feel free to share your experience in the class and your own work with anyone you like.
- Non-judgmental Attitude: We're all in different places in our lives and pursuing different dreams that arise from our unique experiences. Listen to each other with an open heart, and when offering feedback, do so from that same open non-judgmental space.
- Safety. We maintain a welcoming and safe environment here. Please do not post any responses to one another that attacks or demeans another participant based on that participant's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, background, etc. Harassment will not be tolerated and will result in the harasser being removed from the class.
- Self-care. Participants do not need to read material written by other class members if they find that material upsetting.
- Sharing is always optional. There is no need to feel pressure or obligation to share your writing. Your decision to share your words is always at your discretion.
ENGAGING THE WRITING PROMPTS
- As best you can, try not to worry about grammar, spelling, and making any sort of logical sense.
- Follow where your words take you instead of strictly following the "rules" of the writing prompt, or what you think the facilitator wants you to write or what you think you should write. Write what is most alive for you in the moment.
- Experiment with different ways of conveying your story such as in poems, essays, letters, dialogues or whatever form you would like to work with.
- Treat all fresh writing with tenderness and respect knowing it is a starting point that will grow.
- Do not compare your writing with the writing of others, or overly critique and analyze your own writing.
- Approach all of the prompts as exciting experiments and opportunities to play and take risks.
POSTING TO THE DISCUSSION THREAD
Please feel free to initiate discussions by posting any of the following:
- articles related to writing, editing, revision in any genre
- your writing for the purposes of receiving feedback from the group
- questions, concerns, challenges, or thoughts you may have about writing
- useful writing prompts that you think will benefit the group
This list is not exhaustive, so if there is something you would like to share that is not described above, or if you have a question about whether or not something is appropriate to share, please contact Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUIDELINES FOR GIVING FEEDBACK
Through lively online discussions and responding to one another's queries and creativity we come to know one another and support one another as we find our voice, identity, and expression. To that end, when offering feedback, please emphasize critique over criticism by directly following this format:
- Share what you think works in the writing, or what you find particularly strong.
- Point out what is not clear to you, where you have questions, or areas you think could be more developed.
- Offer your suggestions for the author to consider.
As the writer offering feedback on another person's work, you want to share your perspective as a reader of the work. For instance, ask yourself, What did this work make me think of? Where did I get confused or want more detail? As a reader, what more do I want to know?
GUIDELINES FOR RECEIVING FEEDBACK
For some, receiving feedback can be difficult. This is why as a group we establish a protocol to create a safe space for creative expression and growth. When receiving feedback, keep in mind that your primary task is to listen to how others respond to your work. After all, that's part of the reason you joined the group. There's no need to defend, or argue, or prove a case about what you've written; when doing so you are no longer listening and are no longer open to the possibilities that another's response might inspire in you. Consider the process an exciting experiment and play with the possibilities!
Questions? Comments? Contact me!
If you have any questions or comments about the CATALYST writing group, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you!
Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens