WRITING: Workshops & Discourse in General

Sometimes I think that the deeper I fall into this, the more I want to get out. 

Perhaps it would have been appropriate to speak up at last night’s meeting, but I didn’t want to embarrass or single anyone out because it’s not something that doesn’t happen to everyone at some point.  In workshopping a piece, the words "poorly written" came up.  To me–and a few others–this was uncalled-for.  Not only because of the work itself, but because it’s hitting the writer instead of concentrating on the writing. 

It never ceases to surprise me that while we’re so darned careful being "politically correct" (except for me; I don’t bother with that), we are losing our sense of empathy in being correctly polite.  It’s almost as if we’ve invented a set of rules and words to use instead of getting involved enough to assess and make an attempt at understanding feelings.

I just don’t know.  I seem to be in the minority with my way of thinking, and I’m very much doubting the wisdom of it.  This is only one of many things that are getting me thinking lately, and well, just getting to me.

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4 Responses to WRITING: Workshops & Discourse in General

  1. Erika says:

    I haven’t been to a workshop in over a year because of how often some poor person was personally attacked. It is such a shame. Writers, of all people, should know how to say things properly. “I don’t like your ending” doesn’t tell a writer what they need to know to improve the work. “The ending doesn’t seem to tie up the plot twist from chapter two” is something a writer can use.

  2. susan says:

    Yes, I’m beginning to get disenchanted, although it’s a good group and I deeply value the opportunity of good feedback, ideas, learning, and camaraderie. It’s the reason I pushed for starting a group and would like to continue with it.

  3. steve says:

    I don’t remember the “poorly written” comment, which is unfortunate, but in such a case the group needs to assert the workshop ethic of providing helpful commentary and critique. This is one of the most important issues in workshop, but neither is it a perfect system.

    I think that in the end the discussion of June’s work worked out great. She left with a “direction” having come in without one. If the meeting hadn’t have happened, the door would’ve stayed closed.

    I’d just close with this. Since the group covers a range of people with various levels of interest, maturity, and background, these things will invariably happen. It’s unfortunate but there you go.

  4. Neha says:

    Not that I remember “poorly written” being said at any point in the meeting – unless, ofcourse, I was the one saying it. Either ways, our members know that these meetings don’t come with a personal agenda/vendetta attached. Or at least I hope that they know.

    Thick skin is definitely a requirement, but so is being detached enough from the work itself so critique can be accepted.

    Why be there otherwise?

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