Writing is challenging, but participating in our workshops is easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how the BWW works.
1. Become a member of our workshop at meetup.com. We use this service to keep track of attendance and store/share reading material. It’s free.
2. RSVP to a meeting at meetup.com. Sign up for as many meetings as you want. Join a waiting list if a workshop you want to attend is already full. Spots open up all the time.
3. Read the work scheduled for discussion. Prior to December 2016, reading material could be found in the “Files” section. The “Files” section is underneath the “More” tab. However, beginning in January 2017, the files to be discussed at a particular workshop will be found via link in the description of that workshop. Reading material must be available 7 days before a workshop. If it is not, please contact your workshop leader.
4. Download and print these files. Prose submissions must be double-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman, and no longer than 20 pages. Poetry does not need to be double-spaced, but you should submit up to three. Do not change these formatting guidelines to save paper. Please number your pages. You will need space in the margins for step #5.
5. Read these stories/essays/poems. Write comments in the margins as you read.
6. Write a response. Please type your response, though if handwriting is your only option, that’s fine, too. You are welcome to use the printer at the BWW space (that’s why it’s there!).
6a. What should my response contain? First, comment on what works well. Point out the parts that resonate with you. Then, with tact, respond to the elements of the piece that didn’t work so well. But remember: These responses aren’t supposed to be judgments. They’re supposed to give the writer an idea of how the piece seemed to you. The BWW in general follows the principles spelled out in this essay, “On Giving Feedback.”
7. Bring these written comments to the meeting. You’ll hand these comments to the author at the end of the workshop.
8. Discuss. Talk with the other writers at the table about what you’ve read. The author will not participate in this discussion. S/he will listen to what you have to say without debating or defending the points you make. You are free to ask questions, disagree with your fellow participants, and build on things other people say. It’s intellectually stimulating for you and the writer! More on good discussion techniques here.
1. Take a look at our schedule for Burlington or our schedule for Montpelier or our schedule for Middlebury. A blank space on a given day indicates an available spot. Identify the day you want, then fill in and submit the associated form. (Since we now have non-Burlington workshops, we need you to fill in the form rather than simply submit an email as was done in the past.) Please take care to enter your correct email address where asked.
2. Within 3 days, you should receive an email confirmation and see your name on the schedule for the day you requested. If not, please send a (polite!) note to schedule[at]burlingtonwritersworkshop[d0t]com so we can straighten things out.
(Note: If your name shows up on the schedule but you don’t receive an email, most likely you entered an incorrect email address. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)
You’re on the schedule and you need to post your writing. Here’s how you post it:
1. Format your files correctly. They should be Microsoft Word documents. No exceptions. Use this template for prose and this template for poetry. Limit 20 pages of prose or three poems unless instructed otherwise by the workshop leader. Note: We ask that you put at the top of your Word Document any trigger warnings that may be necessary. Survivors of traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse or war, may need a warning before diving into your piece. Trigger warnings are not invitations to disregard a piece of writing; we believe this is a fair way to make everyone feel safe.
2. Email your files to Peter at Peter[at]burlingtonwritersworkshop[dot]com. Do this at least 7 days before your workshop so that the participants have a week to read your work.
If you have questions, please contact us. We’re looking forward to meeting you!