The Inner-Workings Of Writing Workshops

The Inner-Workings Of Writing Workshops

And why you as the fabulous writer you are should go to them.

What is a writing workshop?

Just like you'd go to a workshop to create or repair a product, writers go to literary workshops to get critiques and suggestions on their latest work.

I've taken multiple creative writing workshop courses while attending Purdue, and they've all basically worked the same way: I distribute my fiction or poetry piece to a group of beta readers (non-professional readers who search out plot, structure, or grammatical errors; in my case, other students in the class), and in a week, we meet again and they walk me through what they perceive as the successes and pitfalls of my manuscript.

Why is it important to workshop pieces?

"If beta readers are not professionals, and all they're doing is just giving their subjective opinion on your works, why does working with them matter at all?"

I'm glad you asked. When you attend workshops, you're most likely going to collaborate with other writers by gaining their feedback and giving feedback to them on the projects their working on. This is significant for two main reasons:

  1. You can learn something from other unique writing styles
  2. They represent your future readers

Expanding on Reason #1 - as writers, we develop our own writing style; this can include certain ways of styling sentence structures, punctuation, dialogue, and characterization. While it's important to cultivate and nurture your distinct way of writing, if you're not careful, it can become repetitive and predictable to the reader. By observing and practicing the styles of another (not outright copying, but practicing), you can vary the format of your writing in surprising and interesting ways.

Expanding on Reason #2 - Beta readers, essentially, represent the future readers of your work; they'll ask the questions your target readers may ask if something doesn't make sense, they'll give you a general sample of what readers may or may not like, and that can be extremely useful information to refer to during the revising and editing stages of writing. Although it's true that not all of your beta readers will agree on what's good and what's not, they can give you a general direction of where problems seem to stem from in your pieces.

All in all, workshops are a great way to learn and grow with a community of aspiring writers, gain connections, and are definitely worth looking into if you want to take your writing to the next level.

Keeping it local:

If you're a student at Purdue and are interested in taking an English course that explores workshop writing, I've added the link to all Purdue English courses here - check them out! The course descriptions should let you know if workshops will be incorporated into the curriculum. I'd personally suggest taking Introduction to Creative Writing if workshops, or even writing for an audience, is new to you.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Sometimes "Out With The Old In With The New" Isn't the Best thing

We can't lose touch of the simpler things in life


When I think about how much has changed and how much my world has developed since I was little, I get mind boggled realizing how different things are. I work at a restaurant in the city that I grew up in and I see famillies come and go for dinner every night. They all seem the same. The parents will walk in, check in with the hostesses and wait to be seated. If they're asked to wait, the kids sit by their parents sides playing on phones that are probably too young to have. I understand that waiting can get tedious and boring. By the time that they would sit down, I'd imagine that they would put down the devices and engage in some good old fashion conversation. I was wrong. It made me sad to see kids eating dinners with their families with zero interaction. When I was younger, I enjoyed the quality conversations I would have with my family when we got breaks from our all very hectic schedules. It's amazing how much technology has advanced, but sometimes, I believe that we might rely on it too much.

Seems like more and more things are becoming industrialized. Those "mom and pop" shops are closing down due to corporate companies buying the land. I have enough Walmart and Targets in a ten minute radius from me. Sure, places like these carry necessities are important, but when local Nurseries are closed down in order to build a new gas station, it just becomes sad. As things progress more, the more we lose touch of our roots. The places that make home special and different. The moments we have as a kid that don't involve a light on our face. Modernism is a powerful and amazing thing but we need to take a step back and reevaluate what we hold closest to us.

All in all, as we continue to develop, I will continue to advocate for the simpler moments and the simpler times. I don't think my kids will need iPhones right out of elementary school, I'll continue to visit the same hometown shops and give them as much business as possible, I'll always ask if he kids want coloring sheets at the dinner table. Although these small things might not matter in our everyday new world, they matter to me. I will always try to have so much fun that I forget to document things with my phone. The laughter and memories without the technology present. Those are the moments worth remembering.

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