Building on the success of the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, on the potential I see every Wadadli Pen Challenge season, on the opportunities I’ve had to work with youth and writers here in Antigua and Barbuda (and beyond), and drawing on my experiences as a freelance writer, journalist, editor, and educator, I’m proposing a series of developmental writing sessions.
Writer or not, flip through, because you never know…one of these might be just what you need as you work on building those writing skills or finishing that writing project. For now, this is a feeler. If interested in any of the programmes, send me an email, and if there’s sufficient interest, we’ll make it happen.
Introduction to Writing
This would be for the little ones, say between 6 and 12. I’ve had a few people ask me about ongoing writing programmes for imaginative youngsters or those who need to open up their imagination. This programme would aspire to introduce them to fun and age appropriate literature and art, encourage them to imagine, and challenge them to give voice to their own imaginings. While not a grammar course, it would also try to instill some fundamentals of good writing.
Teen Stream – Creative
This is for anyone in the teen bracket; into being creative, interested in learning more about craft and open to receiving constructive feedback on works-in-progress. As we work together, participants will hopefully become stronger artistes, and more aware of the great art in and beyond their world.
Teen Stream – Non Creative
This won’t be any less fun than the creative stream but it targets young people more interested in fact-based writing; from future journalists to those sweating the college entry essay. As someone who’s worked many years as a journalist, taught CAPE level communications and led youth media workshops, I believe I can help these young people hone and apply their skills.
Adult Writing Group
This is for grown folks, the closeted or not so closeted writers who want to put pen to paper, or maybe already have but need to be in an environment that encourages and supports their writing. Writers who have pieces they need feedback on may find this group particularly useful. I have to warn you that I’m going to push writers in this group in particular to begin pushing themselves to submit publishable works to appropriate markets and contests; and if we can raise funding to participate in literary activities beyond our borders, this is the group that’s most likely to do it. For this group, it’s about listening to the music within, finding a rhythm, and dancing like no body’s looking.
Adult Writing Group – Business Stream
This is the writing group for working folks and entrepreneurs hoping to learn more about professional writing, from basics like the letter seeking employment to the press release seeking to inform people about your businesses and services to blogs seeking to communicate with existing and potential clientele using social media platforms. You don’t always have to have a big budget to get the word out, and if you’re employed building communication skills is one way of making yourself more invaluable to your company.
You’re busy, I’m busy; we’ll need flexibility from time to time – as long as we respect each others’ time. That said, we would aim for hourly sessions, every other week, alternating weeks for each green lit programme.
This is not yet fixed but would be dependent on factors like overhead, the number of registrants, the age of the group etc. I do want to keep it accessible; that said, just so you have something to consider while you’re considering, the minimum would be $50 per session. A non-refundable deposit would cover the first month’s sessions. Plus, if a programme is at least 3/4s subscribed, it would be my goal to offer a sponsored spot to someone who cannot afford to pay but has proven interest and potential.
A minimum of five participants would be needed to activate each session and the cap would be 10 in order to keep it manageable.
To be determined; but factor in field trips as well.
It would be expected that participants have a real interest in working on their writing skills; if you do not put in the work, you may be asked to leave and your spot will open up an opportunity to someone else.
Note to PTAs and School administrators, in-school workshops are also an option. I’ve had enough school invites over the years to know that there is some interest and there’s certainly a will, we just have to find a way.
If you’re reading this and you’re interested in providing scholarships for an individual or a school, much like the patrons who sponsored someone for the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, contact me.
Keep in mind that nothing written here is written in stone; this is just to gauge interest. If interested in any of the sessions and resident in Antigua and Barbuda, email me your questions or expression of interest.
If you’re not resident in Antigua and Barbuda, hold on, technology is on our side. Meanwhile, you can still make use of my coaching services, and my manuscript evaluation and/or editing services.
I want to say, finally, that I, too, am a student of writing, we’re all learning from each other. I’m doing this as a professional pursuit but also because I love writing, I love the literary arts, and I find fulfillment in seeing others blossom as well.
I’ve spent time in the classroom but I find that I work well in smaller groups, with people who are about it. Also, as a writer, I won’t say I’m always as disciplined as I need to be, but I try to prioritize my writing, find a workable rhythm; that’s part of what I’m encouraging you to do with these sessions. However, I’m spreading it out a bit so that we get into a routine without it being, or worse, feeling, routine. I hope to apply some of what works for me as I work with you but I favour interaction so I’ll be listening to you too. I look forward to hearing from you.
— Joanne C. Hillhouse