WHO is Whitespace Writers for?
Whitespace workshops are for beginning writers, advanced writers, and writers-who-don't-yet-call-themselves-writers (of all races/ages/sexual orientations) interested in working in and exploring many forms of writing including poetry, blogs, fiction, memoir, content-creation for social media, song, and even your own personal journaling. You don't have to know what you want to write in order to join- we will inspire the content for you. But if you DO have an idea of what to write about, we will help you finally get it written. There can be anywhere from 5-10 participants per workshop, any gender orientation/race/age/puppies welcome.
WHAT are writing workshops?
Writing workshops are sort of like a playground for writers, but without moving around or sand in your pants, and including coffee/tea and treats, aka the type of playground I would have killed a man for when I was growing up. Ours are designed to actually get you writing- a TON- without you having to know what it is you want to be writing about, and then to share that writing (only if you feel comfortable) with the goal of hearing what others are LOVING about it. WE'LL bring the inspiration for what to write about, YOU bring a notebook and a pen.
WHERE are workshops held?
Whitespace workshops began in Calgary, AB, but have since expanded into Ontario as of 2018 (with plans to expand elsewhere- check in to see if your city has a course!). Workshops can be held in a coffee shop (after hours- nice and private!), a gorgeous modern office space downtown, a cozy little writers' loft, or even in someone's living room. The space is always warm, filled with drinks and goodies and comfy furniture, and designed to make you feel at home and ready to write. Check out where workshops are being held near you!
HOW do workshops work?
Whitespace workshops typically follow this 3 hour format:
Writers and not-yet-calling-themselves-writers arrive, and to jumpstart the mind and calm the heart, a writing prompt is given right away to spark imagination. It may be a song, a question, an image, an object, or something else entirely. Writers will take their notepads or laptops and find a cozy corner to huddle in, where you will write furiously and feverishly (or thoughtfully and ponderously) for 20 minutes WITHOUT editing- just pure thought- whatever comes to mind. It could be related to something else you've been working on, but often something new is sparked, and you free-write following your train of thought. After our first full exercise, we gather together and pour coffee and eat popcorn or cookies or candy and have a sharing time, where everyone is encouraged to read what they wrote aloud IF they feel comfortable.
DO I have to read my work out loud?
This is NOT mandatory- you will NEVER in ANY circumstance be forced or pressured to read aloud. This comes only when and IF you feel comfortable. If you do choose to read (myself included! so I know it can be scary!), you may preface your reading with 'this probably won't be good' or 'I haven't even read this over' or 'this sucks' if you wish, and we will all nod and pretend like we heard you, and then you will find, magically, that people laugh, or sigh, or cry, or nod in agreement, or even cheer while you read whatever it is you thought 'sucked'.
WILL people be critiquing/criticizing my work?
Once everyone who wants to read has done so, we take time to give comments to the reader. We NEVER criticize or critique first drafts, EVER EVER EVER. You will NEVER hear negative feedback in this workshop- guaranteed. We strongly believe that a writer's first draft is a sacred piece of writing- the birth of something new and sparkly- and should only be encouraged, nurtured, and blessed. During the comment period, each listener will be asked to share with the writer either an image or word or sentence that stood out in their mind as lovely or good, or perhaps they may be asked to share what worked with the character or voice or setting or description.
WILL I actually learn some writing tools/techniques/tips?
Each week, a brief explanation of a new writing technique is given by the instructor. This could be a lesson on metaphor, on imitation, or the difference between Germanic vs. Latinate words. These never take up too much time, as all writing exercises are designed to teach you what you need to learn through the action of actually writing. We don't really like to lecture here- we prefer to write! However, the goal is that you get some solid, real-world writing tips on how to make your writing as unique, clear, strong, and magical as possible.
WHAT do I get out of the workshop?
Throughout a 10-week workshop, you will have written between 15-20 (sometimes more if there's time) new pieces of writing ripe for expansion. You will have learned how to edit them to make them sound as much like you as possible, and as strong, clear, and crisp as possible. You will have learned what your voice sounds like, what people love in your writing, and perhaps even what form fits it best (poetry? flash fiction? journalism?). You will have tapped into memories, voices, thoughts, and dreams you probably didn't know were inside you. You will have been surprised by how a prompt can spark something so different in two different writers. You will have been shocked at the voices that came out of you on the page. You will have overcome fears that stopped you from writing. You will have learned how to liberate yourself to the discipline of writing. You will have read your piece at a coffee & reading night designed to celebrate your writing to your friends and family. You will have birthed new stories into the world that would never have existed without you. You might even start to call yourself a writer...