The joy I felt when I was contacted about restarting the writer’s workshop was profound. With everything this year has taken, getting something back was a gift. For writers a writer’s workshop is a safe haven where you can get advice and build community. This is a place that will help serious writers improve their craft and help the casual writer find the joy in writing well.
These writer’s workshops provide practice, community, and the chance to explore your abilities as a writer. But you have to put in the work and to do that you have to be up prepared.
Here is a list of things I recommend you bring to writer’s workshops (in person or virtual) to make sure you get the most out of your time.
A notebook, journal, lined paper, or computer.
Writer’s workshops can be different. Sometimes you have writing prompts your given on the day or beforehand. Sometimes you’re collaborating as a group. Sometimes you end up talking the whole time about various aspects of writing. No matter what, you will need to write and/or take notes. Book recommendations will be made and lectures will be suggested. Make sure you write down these resources as well.
Not all writer’s workshops happen at regular times. Things may come up causing the workshop to be rescheduled. Make sure you can join the conversation (and make note of) when the next workshop will happen. Other events and opportunities may be discussed as well. Poetry slams, short story competitions, and reading groups can all easily become topics of discussion. Make sure to jot down the ones that seem intriguing to you.
Having something to write on won’t help if you’ve nothing to write with. I suggest bringing a black or blue pen, pencil, highlighter, and a red pen. It isn’t uncommon to critique work during a workshop. For these critiques different colored pens are useful. (Note, before writing on some else’s work make sure you have permission to do so.)
Building community requires the ability to stay in contact. Having your business card allows others to have your information quickly. This also shows you take your writing seriously.
Your Previous Work
You may never bring it out of your bag but having your previous work allows the others to get a better idea of what your writing style is. This is especially helpful to whoever is running the workshop as they can see what you’ve accomplished so far. This may also open up dialogue about how to complete and release work.
Whether it’s writing down recommendations, jotting down contact information, or just getting a quick thought out of your head, scrap paper can help you make the most out of a writer’s workshop.
This is fairly optional but having something to eat or drink helps build comradery and you’re less likely to look at the clock wondering when you can leave to get lunch if you are enjoying something delicious. Eating with others also helps build friendships.
Feel free to ask any questions you have about how to be prepared for writer’s workshops. Following me on Instagram lets you get advice like this in smaller pieces more often. My YouTube channel goes over writing topics at length. All likes, follows, and comments are wildly appreciated!