How It Works

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 We use this service to keep track of attendance and store/share reading material. It’s free.

2.   RSVP to a meeting at 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. The reading material is found in the “Files” section. The “Files” section is underneath the “More” tab.

3a. How do you know what you’re supposed to read? We keep lists of who is scheduled to submit work for Burlington workshops , Montpelier workshops and Middlebury workshops. The author will post his/her work in the “Files” section seven (7) days before the meeting.

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.

How To Request Feedback

1.  Take a look at our schedule for Burlington or our schedule for Montpelier or our schedule for MiddleburyAll blank spaces indicate an available spot. Identify which blank spot you want.

2.   Send an email to “” and tell us which day you want. We’ll put your name there.

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 either .doc or .PDF. 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.

2.  Log onto to post files. Do this exactly seven days before the scheduled discussion of your work. If you do it sooner, you run the risk of letting your piece get lost in the list; if you do it later, you won’t give your readers enough time.

3.   Click on the “Files” section. It’s under the “more” tab, circled in yellow in the picture below.

4.   Click on “Add a file.”

5.  Click “Browse” to upload the file. This is similar to how you’d attach a file in an email.

6.   Describe your file. You’ll also see a “Description (optional)” field. Please populate this field in the following way, with no other information. “Peter’s story for BTV meeting on 2/25/15.” Or, “Jodie’s poems for MONT meeting on 2/26/15.” Do not write anything else in this space. Participants will use this information to find your piece. This is very important; if you don’t follow this step, participants will have trouble finding your work. Follow the example below:


7.  Upload it.

If you have questions, please contact us. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

One thought on “How It Works

  1. Hi Peter, Good to see you tonight and to be back and part of the group, though I only knew a few people. You have really grown since those early days of just a few of us sitting in the Borders cafe. I am going to take the plunge and ask for the empty spot on April 24th …. I’ll wait to hear from you, Take care, keep warm until spring finally comes — Anne

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