Opportunities & Announcements: Week of December 11, 2017

Hands in a circle graphic‘Tis the season when nonprofits remind us that their important work can’t happen without our tax-deductible support…because it’s true!  If you’re thinking about end-of-year giving, please remember the good work that depends almost completely on BWW member donations. Whatever you took away this year—a workshop or retreat, the opportunity to work on a publication, the fellowship of a writing community, a place to write—was all made possible by member contributions. As the end of the year approaches, please give what you can to support the health and growth of the Burlington Writers Workshop. Donate today >

Survey says…

That’s a teaser. Actually the survey is still open to gather input for the 2018 BWW anthology (aka The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop) and to recruit people interested in staffing the publication. At the moment, opinion is running 5-to-3 in favor of renaming, and there are some great ideas for names on this list. When the survey closes, January 2, 2018, We’ll announce the results and—if renaming is in the cards—offer a few ideas for final selection. Watch for an organizational meeting date early in the new year. And thanks to those who have already expressed interest in staffing.

If you haven’t done so, please provide your feedback and let us know if you’d like to be part of the team. Take the survey >

Packed house for Stories By the Fire

Stories by the Fire: A BWW and Hotel Vermont event

What could be more fundamentally human than listening to fellow humans tell stories around a fire? Saturday night more than 60 people gathered at the Hotel Vermont for the 3rd annual Stories By the Fire, a very special night hosted by Gin Ferrara and featuring 7 BWW members and community storytellers. Special thanks to the hotel for again providing the warm and welcoming space, and the snacks. If you missed it, thanks to our media sponsor RETN, you’ll be able to watch it online and on Channel 16. Watch for a link coming soon.

Writing retreat—literally—Feb 18

The Retreat Committee has some wonderful ideas in development for 2018, and its first event, February 18 at the BWW space, is something different. For this retreat, writers will neglect everything and lock in to just write, glue themselves to their chairs, eat pretzels, run up and down the stairs, take bathroom breaks…that’s it. This will appeal to writers who are deeply immersed in a particular work and don’t want the distraction of prompts, feedback, or direction from leaders. Also for anyone feeling like they don’t have time to write due to life’s many distractions, as well as writers who just want to get out of the house and not into a bar. If this is exactly what you’ve been needing to fulfill your writing resolutions in the new year, sign up for a seat and get ready to write. RSVP for this BWW winter retreat >

The Rally is On…At City Market: Rally for Change

Throughout December, remember that shopping at City Market and “rounding up” at the check out benefits the BWW. Through their Rally for Change program, 50% of round-up donations go to the Chittenden County Food Shelf, 40% to the Committee on Temporary Shelter, and 10% to the BWW. Visit the downtown store or the new location in the South End.  Learn about City Market’s Rally for Change >

Congrats and thanks

Congratulations to Cathy Beaudoin whose nonfiction stories “Opening Up My World” and “Seeing is Believing” were published in Five on the Fifth and Kind Magazine, respectively. Her fiction story “Gaining Momentum” has been accepted by Scarlett Leaf Review.

Thanks to our 8 Stories by the Fire storytellers:  Gin Ferrara, Peter Burns, Deena Frankel, Owen Foley, Cardy Raper, Anne Mollo and Bill Torrey.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of December 4, 2017

Support your writing community and fight hunger by rounding up at City Market

December is the Burlington Writers Workshop’s month for City Market’s “Rally for Change” program. Throughout the month, 10% of all funds raised from patrons who “round up” at check-out will come to the BWW as a donation. The other 90% goes to programs addressing hunger. So whether City Market is your go-to grocery store, or you want to make a special trip to support the BWW and hunger programs, please consider rounding up at check-out!

Donate to the Burlington Writers Workshop directly

Support the Burlington Writers WorkshopDecember is traditionally a fundraising month for us here at the Burlington Writers Workshop. If you already donate—monthly online, a once-a-year check, or a few dollars in the donation box at a workshop—thank you on behalf of everyone who benefits from the BWW.

And if you’re so inclined, please consider giving a special donation this month to help fuel our efforts as we head into 2018. Together, we’ll be bringing even more of what members like you say they want most—more craft workshops, more retreats, more open mics, more opportunities for connecting. If we each give what we can, we’ll help to ensure we’ll all get what we need from this beautiful community of ours. Donate today >

Opportunities

The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop

It’s time to start planning!

We’re beginning plans for our 6th annual anthology of member work—but we’re doing things a little differently this year. After all, we’ve learned a lot in the 5 years we’ve been publishing this labor of love and we want to use what we’ve learned to make it even better for the anthology’s staff, the writers we publish, and the BWW community overall.

So, first things first, a survey! Some members have suggested we rename the anthology. We’d like to explore that as a community, even as we start plans for the next issue. Please take a few minutes to tell us if you like the name as it is, or if you’d like to change it—and any ideas you might have for a new name. Take the survey now >

Are you interested in staffing the 2018 edition? We need lead editors, copy editors,  designers, marketers, and project managers. If you’re interested or want to know more, let us know (take the survey) what roles pique your interest. We plan to hold an in-person learning and information session to answer your questions and start to build a team. If you’d like to be involved, but you don’t have editing experience, don’t worry! One purpose of the anthology is to help members learn new skills, and we’re here to support you. Volunteer for the journal >

3rd Annual Stories by the Fire

Saturday, December 9 at Hotel Vermont

Join us this Saturday as Gin Ferrara hosts first-person, true stories by BWW and community storytellers, told without notes in the style of The Moth. Our media partner for this event is RETN. RSVP now >

The Writer’s Website: Presenting and Managing Your Work on the Internet

Thursday, January 18 at the BWW space in Burlington

Looking for help creating your writer’s website? Join Mieko A. Ozeki, owner of Radiance Studios LLC, for a workshop designed to take the anxiety out of the process. Mieko will provide an overview on how to plan, create, curate, and manage content for your website. We’ll review a selection of all-in-one website builder platforms such as SquareSpace, Wix, and WordPress. And you’ll get tips on how to promote traffic to your site and optimize search results that point to your work. RSVP now >

Announcements

Winter workshops

Many of our workshops are now scheduled for January and February. Check out the calendar >

Note: If you’re wondering why you don’t see any Wednesday Workshops, or some Mondays, yet, it’s because we’re working on securing guest authors for craft workshops and series. We expect to have those confirmed soon, and will update the calendar—and announce the details in Opportunities & Announcements—as soon as we have dates.

Board meetings

Minutes from past meetings:

Minutes are now available for the annual meeting and the most recent board meeting.

Read the annual meeting minutes >

Read the 11/29 board meeting minutes >

Next board meeting: December 16, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The next meeting of the BWW board of directors is scheduled for Saturday, December 16, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.  Due to hectic holidays schedules, this will be a phone meeting. If you’d like to listen in as an observer on the call, please contact us and we’ll get you the conference line details. Minutes from the meeting will also be posted, as usual, on the site.  Contact us >

Flynn Center Blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn:

Cynthia Close reviews Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy’s “A Celtic Family Christmas” >

Lorraine Ryan previews “A Christmas Carol” >

Thanks and congrats

Thanks to Erin Post for leading 2 collaborative team meetings for the Mud Season Review staff as we continue working to increase the journal’s long-term sustainability. And thank you to everyone on staff who came out to these meetings to share their ideas and their dedication.

Thanks to Patrick Brownson for yet another successful season in our literature reading series. What started with “Infinite Summer” has now become a beloved, year-long opportunity for members to gather for meaningful and challenging discussion of some of the great works of literature. Up next is our 3-month winter series featuring Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot (aka, Mary Ann Evans). Seats are filling up fast. Grab yours today >

Thanks to Wendy Andersen, Kristabeth Atwood, Melinda Bachand, Rosa Castellano, Terry Cleveland, Seth Melvin Cronin, Eva Gumprecht, Natasha Mieskowski, and  Mindy Wong for leading recent workshops.

Thanks to Barbie Alsop and Dennis Bouldin for their work in getting winter workshops and submissions scheduled.

Thanks to Eva Gumprecht for testing out the instructions for maintaining member submissions on our site as we begin the process of spreading this responsibility around.

Thanks to the retreat committee (Wendy Andersen, Linda Ayer, Rose Eggert, Eva Gumprecht, Jen HallieRiki Moss, Candelin Wahl) for their work on a proposal for more retreats throughout the year—and their continued work to make them happen.

Thanks to Margaret Grant and Cynthia Close for keeping the board apprised of ongoing grant opportunities for the BWW and Mud Season Review.

Thanks to Lauren Bender and Rebecca Starks for their work in capturing minutes for the annual meeting and most recent board meeting.

Thanks to Rose Eggert and Terry Cleveland for another successful month of tracking the funding that makes all this possible!

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of Nov. 27, 2017

Stories By the Fire: A BWW Winter Tradition

It’s great to be responsible for a new holiday tradition! This year marks the third annual Stories By the Fire, presented by the Burlington Writers Workshop in collaboration with the Hotel Vermont. This entertaining and moving event has drawn overflow crowds both years to date, as BWW and community members gather early in the holiday season for a tradition as old as the hearth.

Join us on Saturday, December 9th as Gin Ferrara hosts 6 to 8 first-person, true stories—each about 8 minutes long—told without notes in the style of The Moth. Our media partner for this event is RETN.

The atmosphere is magical. Please join us by RSVPing now.

Space Available in Dec 11th Poetry Workshop with Kerrin McCadden

Kerrin McCadden’s  upcoming poetry workshop  still has a few spaces available.  The session is the next in our continuing craft workshops series, supported in part by a grant from Burlington City Arts. Kerrin is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, inaugural winner of the 2015 Vermont Book Award, as well as the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, chosen by David St. John. Check out her full bio and grab an available spot today.

Round Up for BWW at City Market

The new South End City Market is a beautiful store, opened just in time for the holiday season. And the timing is perfect because this month our turn came up for their “Rally for Change” program. Throughout December, 10% of all funds raised from patrons who “round up” at the check-out will come to BWW as a donation. The other 90% goes to programs addressing hunger.

In the check-out line this weekend, every patron around me chose to round up, so clearly this is a successful fundraising technique. It is one of many ways City Market supports its community. A good reason to visit City Market anytime, but especially throughout December.

Mud Season Review Issue #34

Mud Season Review issue #34 launched this week. Check out this month’s stunning words and images. And thanks to all the MSR staff whose hard work makes this journal a source of international recognition and justifiable pride for the BWW.

Congratulations

Mud Season Review editor-in-chief Lauren Bender‘s poem “# wife”  was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Pittsburgh Poetry Review .

In this week’s Flynn Center blog, Cynthia Close previews “A Celtic Christmas, via Canada” featuring Canadians Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, a sold-out Dec. 1 production.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of November 14, 2017

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2nd BWW annual meeting! What a great kickoff to our strategic planning for this community’s future. The generous sharing of  perspectives and experiences made for a strong foundation to an ongoing conversation about where we want to go together.

For anyone who wasn’t able to join in the meeting, here’s a look at the timeline for our  strategic planning process that will unfold over the next several months. There will be  many opportunities for input and collaborative exploration at workshops, online, and at the strategic planning retreat.

If you missed the meeting, here are the slides presented. And here are the survey result charts. Two important notes on the slides regarding survey data and responses:

  1. A very small portion of our membership took the survey this year. So the results do not reflect a general consensus among members. This survey will be just a small input into the overall discussion, with more focus put on the annual meeting discussion and continuing inputs (in person and online).
  2. The slides showing member top interest only show the results of the #1 choice of members in those questions. So please keep that in mind when viewing. For example, no one picked Best Of as their #1 choice of things to be involved in. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still a positive part of their experience.

In the coming weeks, notes from the meeting will be posted as well and a link provided in O&A.

In the meantime, please keep creating. Everything we’ve ever done in the BWW has come out of member ideas. So, if you have an idea for workshops, readings, publications, or other programming and events, please always feel free to let us know  what you have in mind and how you want to be part of making it happen. Whether it’s using the space in Burlington for a small-group writing session or organizing a reading at your local coffee shop or even your house—we can offer you tips on how to go about it, help you reserve the BWW space, give you BWW books to bring to display at a reading if you’d like, and help to promote your workshop or reading in our communications. Remember, the BWW is our shared community. We want you to make it yours.

Opportunities

Share your story by the fire at Hotel Vermont

Saturday, December 9, 6:30 p.m. at Hotel Vermont

People have been sharing stories around the fire since they discovered how to light that first spark. And we’re continuing that tradition with the 3rd annual Stories by the Fire event at Hotel Vermont on Saturday, December 9.

Come be part of the tradition. We’re looking for a few BWW writers who have winter or winter holiday themed stories to share out loud, performed rather than read, “Moth-style.” We can even offer coaching if you’ve never told an oral story to an audience before. Send a brief (1 paragraph or less) description of your 8-minute oral story today. Pitch your story >

Announcements

Congrats and thanks

Thank you to everyone who helped in preparations for the annual meeting, from helping to create the presentation to making food: Lauren BenderPartridge Boswell, Terry ClevelandCynthia Close, Eva GumprechtDeena FrankelRebecca Starks, and Danielle Thierry. And thanks again to everyone who came with their ideas and their positive energy!

Thank you to the Fletcher Free Library for providing the space.

Thank you to Deena Frankel for coordinating the amazing BWW open mic. Thank you to Partridge Boswell, our warm and inspiring emcee. Thank you to our readers (Barbie AlsopCynthia Close, Joy Cohen, Annie CooperNina Gaby, NoahGenrose Lambert, Michael Sevy, and Candelin Wahl) and our singer-songwriter Nate Orshan. Your performances were impressive and moving. Thank you to Lee Anderson and the staff of the Light Club Lamp Shop for their generous hospitality. Check out the photos from the event >

Thank you to Eva Gumprecht for the wonderful idea of building upon the mission-based questions posed at the annual meeting to continue collective brainstorming  in workshops and other sessions.

Thank you to Peter Biello for having the foresight to sign the BWW up for City Market’s Rally for Change program several years ago. We’re now at the top of the list, and we’ll be the nonprofit recipient of 10% of donations throughout the month of December. More on this next week, but in the meantime, check out the program information >

Thank you to Mindy Wong, our space manager, for the terrific idea to create “open hours” times on the Meetup calendar for folks to come to our shared space to write, drink coffee, and connect. Look for open hours coming soon!

P.S. There are a lot of people to thank this week. So if we missed you on the list, please know it wasn’t intentional and that all of your contributions—big and small—are deeply appreciated.

Congrats to Cynthia Close, who is currently being spotlighted in The Woven Tale Press.

Congrats to Kerstin Lange, whose commentary is highlighted on Vermont Public Radio.

Congrats to  Ilamae Lund, who will be speaking at reading at the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho on November 26 between 3 – 4 p.m.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 30, 2017

There are just 2 spots left on the performance schedule for the BWW’s first open mic night at the Light Club Lamp Shop. We’ll be gathering in the magical living room that is the Light Club on Thursday, November 16 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. to share stories, poems, and songs. If you’d like to share your work, please see the instructions on the RSVP page. Or, just join us to listen and support your fellow BWW members! RSVP now >

This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the Burlington City Arts Community Fund.

Keep reading below for more opportunities and announcements.

Opportunities

BWW annual member survey

Open through November 4
If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to fill out our annual member survey. We’ll present the results to help serve as a foundation for discussion at the annual member meeting. We’ll also use the results throughout the year to ensure we’re meeting member needs . Take the survey >

BWW annual member meeting

November 11, noon, at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington
Join us for a creative exercise to kick off our upcoming strategic planning process, followed by readings and performances from some of our many talented members. RSVP now >

NaNoWriMo Write-In at the Vermont Steampunk Expo

November 4-5 at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington
In honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the Vermont Steampunk Expo will be hosting a “write-in” during the weekend event. Learn more about this opportunity >

Announcements

Mud Season Review

Mud Season Review issue #33 launched this October 20th. This issue is a special one, celebrating poetry and allowing us to feature more of the amazing poets we’re connecting with around the world—from New Jersey to the Netherlands to Nigeria.

The issue features the work of 12 poets: Hussain Ahmed, Aileen Bassis, Alexis Bates, James Blevins , Moushumi Chakrabarty, Savannah Cooper, Natalie Crick, Jessica Lee, D.S. Maolalai, Kristian O’Hare, Milla van der Have, and Rachel Walker.

Rounding out the issue is the featured artwork of Brent Schreiber.

Congrats to the entire Mud Season Review staff on the launch of this issue. And special thanks to the MSR poetry team for bringing this poetry supplement to life: Lauren Bender, Bette Jane CampNancy Malhotra, Grier Martin, Aurora Nowak, Emma Parkinson, and Candelin Wahl.

Flynn Center blog

BWW writers regularly blog for the Flynn:

Josh McDonald previews Soovin Kim and Gloria Chen performing the violin sonatas of Charles Ives >

 

Congrats and thanks

Congrats to Peter Biello, whose recent report on the Manchester, NH VA’s lack of private access to their women’s clinic for female Veterans resulted in announced plans to relocate the clinic. Read more about this issue >

Congrats to Kane Gilmour, whose new novel with Jeremy Robinson, Viking Tomorrow, is now available. Learn more about the book >

Thank you to our 2017 Retreat Committee for an amazing summer and fall full of warm, collaborative, inspiring retreats. Committee members and retreat hosts include: Wendy AndersenLinda Ayer, Terry ClevelandRose Eggert, Eva Gumprecht, Jen HallieRiki Moss, and Candelin Wahl. Thank you, as well, to this year’s retreat instructors: Robin McLeanJericho ParmsRebecca Starks, and Baron Wormser.

Thanks to everyone—from past and present board members to our scheduler and space manager to our workshop leaders, retreat committee, and Mud Season Review staff—who is helping to pitch in extra during this time of transition. Your support and attention to all the many details that keep this organization running is deeply appreciated.

Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members. Contact us >

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 23, 2017

Fall is a busy time at the BWW, with many opportunities upcoming. But perhaps the most important opportunities ahead are several ways for you to help shape the future of the BWW, for us to engage in thinking about the future together, and to hear your creative voice, if you are so inclined.

Member survey launched

Today we launched the annual BWW Member Survey, which will remain open until November 4. Each year, the Board of Directors relies heavily on this feedback to shape the next year’s programming and determine how resources are spent. The aggregated results of the anonymous survey are shared at the annual meeting to help provide a framework for further discussion about member goals, and are used throughout the year to inform decisions—taking into account what’s working, what could be improved, how the BWW can better meet member needs, and who wants to step forward to help. With the organization at a moment of transition, your input is more important than ever.

Annual meeting Nov 11, noon, Fletcher Free Library

On November 11, we will gather from noon to 2 p.m. at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington for the BWW Annual Meeting. Please RSVP today. You will not want to miss the collaborative thinking about the future and the fun—by which I mean good food, good company, and readings and performances from each of our diverse types of writing: Best Of, Mud Season Review, songwriting, the literature group, and the oral storytelling workshop.

BWW Open Mic, Nov 16, 6:30-8:00, Light Club Lamp Shop

Finally, I’m pleased to announce the first (of 2) BWW open mics at the Light Club Lamp Shop, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on November 16. If you would like to read your work, tell an oral story, or play an original song, please sign up here. These open mics are part of the programming associated with the BCA grant we received this summer. Even if you don’t care to read or perform, come join us for an evening in the magical living room that is the Light Club.

Announcements

The BWW Board met on Saturday, October 21. We accepted BWW founder Peter Biello’s resignation with sadness and thanks, and elected veteran BWW member Deena Frankel as chair of the board. As the board begins a strategic planning process—with lots of opportunities ahead for member input—Danielle Thierry, current board member and past organizer, will be aiding in the transition to give us time to decide how to “staff” various roles in the future.

Congratulations

Rebecca Starks’ poem, Open Carry, was published in the October 8, 2017, edition of Rattle.

Candelin Wahl has 6 poems published and forthcoming in Red Wolf Journal and HerStory.

Congratulations, Rebecca and Candelin.

Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members.

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of October 16, 2017

Thanks to Candelin Wahl, here we have a photo from our recent songwriting workshop. It’s a regular offering at the BWW, one Thursday a month, and proof that the BWW is a big tent, capable of providing space to creative types of all kinds.

If you thought that sentence sounded like the prelude to a pitch, you would be correct. This songwriting workshop–and all of our Burlington workshops–happen around this table, in a space that costs money to rent.

We don’t charge a fee, but the BWW leadership team ask folks like you to chip in a few bucks from time to time to support the mission of the BWW, which is to provide free learning opportunities for writers like you. If you’d like to give a certain amount each month (let’s say $6 or $12) you can become a sustaining member here. 

We hope you will. Automatic gifts like yours provide a stable base of support for the expenses that come with running this nonprofit organization.

We’ve got more opportunities and a big announcement to make, so please do check out this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 25, 2017

Three down, one left.

Our free writing retreats have been a success so far this year. On the weekend of September 18th, Vermont poet Baron Wormser led a day-long retreat in Adamant, Vermont. Candelin Wahl, one of the participants, said, “The workshop was great! Engaged participants, very strong leader/teacher in Baron Wormser, amazing location & a restaurant-quality potluck lunch.”

We’ve got one more free writing retreat left. You can learn more about it and put your name in the hat for the lottery here.

There’s more to discover in this week’s opportunities and announcements, so read on!

Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of September 11, 2017

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief, Mud Season Review

Lauren Bender, editor-in-chief of Mud Season Review, is getting ready to step down from her post. We’re so glad that she was able to spend a year (1) publishing great online and print issues and (2) facilitating the learning experience that MSR provides to Vermont’s aspiring writers. Lauren, we can’t thank you enough for your stellar work!

Lauren’s going to be working with her replacement to ease the transition to new leadership, which should be in place no later than October 31, 2017.

Who’s the new editor-in-chief? We don’t know yet, but we’d like you to apply for the job if you’re interested. Details on this and other opportunities for writers can be found in this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 28, 2017

The second Burlington Writers Workshop retreat of the summer took place this past weekend. Fiction writer Robin McLean, author of the short story collection Reptile House, spent the day working with attendees. Here’s what a few folks who attended had to say about the retreat:

“The retreat was better than anything I’d imagined. Certainly the organization was admirable. The setting was amazingly beautiful and inspiring. The folks who attended (including our hosts) added so much to the experience; the generous participation, the bravery, and the food! Our instructor was so much more than that; a mentor, our guru, our spiritual leader; leading us to the hidden wells of  inspiration and creativity tucked away in our unconscious minds; teaching us to banish the gatekeeper/censor and go forth like cowboys exploring deep caverns… wow.”

“I’d like to add my thanks to Riki and Rose for their great hospitality and for providing such a gorgeous setting. Thanks too to Robin for being such an inspiring workshop leader! Thanks finally to all the writers who shared their wonderful writings and commentary. I was so fired up that I rose early on Sunday morning and started working again on my novel.”

“Kudos for that magical day go to Riki and Robert [retreat hosts] for sharing creative space; to Wendy and Karin [retreat committee members] for their behind the scenes work; to everyone who opened their hearts and souls giving all of us the courage to go deeper; and to Robin for her careful and inspiring guidance in allowing us to find ourselves.”

The next BWW retreat will take place on September 16th. All our retreats are filled by lottery. This gives all writers an equal chance to attend. You can learn more and put your name in the hat by checking out this page.

Learn more about what’s happening for writers in Vermont in the coming weeks in these opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of August 14, 2017

At our workshops, we’ll discuss anything. Last week, when I was leading a workshop, we were discussing the trials of entering the dating market when you’re over 60. (Dating, it was noted at the workshop table, is perilous at any age.)

One of our writers had written about a woman entering the dating market after her husband of 30 years passed away. The novel-in-progress generated quite a discussion. Beyond that, I can’t comment about what was said. Like they say about Las Vegas: What happens in workshop, stays in workshop.

But if you’d like to be privy to workshop conversations, there’s one thing you can do: sign up and claim your seat.

Learn more about this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 31, 2017

The BWW held its first retreat of the season on July 15. These folks pictured here attended at the home of BWW Treasurer Terry Cleveland. These retreats are meant to help you get away from whatever happens to be distracting you from your work. If you’re interested in signing up for more of these retreats, please check out this page and see what we have to offer.

We’ve also got workshops aplenty, so sign up for a few when you have a chance. And check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 17, 2017

A view of downtown Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.

For the first time in two years, I attended a Wednesday night writing workshop in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Wednesday night writing workshops are the longest running tradition at the Burlington Writers Workshop. Part of that tradition involves going out for drinks downtown after the discussion ends. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed the lively Wednesday night conversations and the chance to socialize with BWW members over a beer (or two).

Part of the fun for me, of course, was getting feedback on my latest short story. I was hoping to see this story in a new light and, as always, BWW members delivered. In the next few days, I’m going to get started on revisions. Thanks, fellow workshoppers!

If you’ve got a piece of writing you need to see through someone else’s eyes, we’ve got plenty of opportunities for you. Here are this week’s opportunities and announcements.

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Opportunities and Announcements: Week of July 3, 2017

“A Ulysses Summer: Summer Literature Reading Group” is one of our most popular workshops this summer.

Lately a group of BWW members have been reading Ulysses by James Joyce together. Patrick Brownson leads the group, which counts 13 regular attendees plus a waitlist, meaning it’s one of the most popular things we’re offering this summer. As you can see, our workshop space is occupied by quite a few happy readers, one of whom owns a selfie stick.

This reading group is full, but you can still participate in other workshops, if you’d like. We’ve got plenty. We’ve also got four free writing retreats planned this year.

Check out this week’s opportunities and announcements. Continue reading

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of June 19, 2017

The pile of manuscripts on my desk. Providing feedback for these folks makes me a better writer.

I’ve been providing a lot of feedback to writers lately through Mud Season Review. It’s one of the ways we keep the journal funded, but for me, it’s also a writing exercise.

Let me explain. In the past month or so, I’ve read someone’s novel, an essay collection, and four short stories. For each of these I’ve written a 1,500-word analysis, and I’ve made an effort to write a response of some kind on every page of the manuscript. It’s the kind of feedback I hope we’re giving each other in BWW workshops.

Anyway, doing this has really changed how I write. I’m learning how to articulate how I’m feeling as I read, and perhaps more importantly, I’m learning what I don’t want to see in prose. I’m learning what frustrates me as a reader. When I sit down to write my own work, I’m much more conscious now of what pleases me most as a reader, and what would please my ideal reader.

This, I think, is one of the key things about the BWW’s service. We get feedback on our own work, which is helpful, but it’s important to remember that giving feedback is not a purely altruistic act. You get something from it, assuming you put serious thought into it.

This is just to say: We’ve got many opportunities for you to exercise the feedback muscle. Here are the latest opportunities and announcements.

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