A friend asked me recently if I enjoy doing my Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series, and I could honestly reply that I do. This Saturday’s session was an example of what I love about them.
There we were around the table, about to get going, when one of the participants announced that next Saturday was cricket. Now I know she’s a cricket fan-atic because the first time I met her (where she first asked me about my workshops) was at cricket, and I saw how much she loved the game and the atmosphere around the game. I figured I’d lost her. But she continued, no I’ll be here. Granted, I won’t know until she shows up or doesn’t (almost every time since I’ve been doing this, including this Saturday, there’s someone I expect to show up who doesn’t), but if she would give up a day with something she loves as much as cricket to come to a session, I’ll count that as a win.
There’ve been a few times since I restarted these creative writing workshops at the start of the year where I’ve felt genuine purpose and joy watching participants (sometimes just participant) lean in to the experience. There was a point on Saturday when we were doing a free writing exercise when I called time and told them to wind down …10 minutes later they were still writing…after a time I had to reluctantly call time again, just so we could cover some of what I had planned to cover. Later I would give them some time to share what they’d written and explore what they’d discovered in the process.
That’s one of the beauties of a workshop. I plan meticulously, of course, but my desire to make sure that participants are engaged and getting something out of the experience helps set the tone and means that I adjust as I need to. Though I have done workshops with participants numbering in the mid-20s, keeping the number of registrants to a manageable size is good. If I’m being honest, though, there’s manageable and there’s low and registration has been low since JWP CWWS re-started this year; I will need to attract more participants to continue to justify these workshops’ place in my schedule.
This is the fourth in the series of four week workshops since the start of the year, week three, and each week there’s been a sense of surprise on their part when our hour and a half comes to an end. Saturday, one said, “these go too fast… (they’re) so much fun.”
What’s interesting is we’ve been doing more practical exercises and more intensive critiquing of their writing this round; it shouldn’t be fun. But, yes, it is.
The Jhohadli Writing Workshop’s new series (i.e. the next set of workshops) will be announced shortly. If you want to be put on the mailing list to participate, contact me . It’s based in Antigua and Barbuda, but long distance participants can receive the material and participate in the exercises. So, if you want to dedicate some time to working on your writing, whether to improve your writing skills or to push forward on a project, contact me.
Also, at this point in the summer I had hoped to have commitments that would allow me to announce at least one week of the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project (first offered in 2013 and targeted at teens) for late summer (I’ll need to make a decision this week). So contact me if you would like to have a JSYWP this year and either wish to participate or sponsor a participant – and I’ll see.