What do you mean, no more workshop?

That’s it. I’m done. Done with graduate workshops and required one page responses. No more 12-13 copies of a story printed out and stapled, (and with page numbers, damnit). No more three-hour classes of back and forth debate, or discussions about everything from the title to the use of onomatopoeia. Finally, I am free of workshop.

Oh god…no more workshop…

This weekly ritual that I’ve been adhering to for two years is finally over. No one is required to read and respond to my work. No one has to think about what it all means, or what my character’s motivations are. No one has to care.

It’s scary to think that now I’m on my own. But I am so glad I had the incredible workshop experiences I did, better this year than last, but beneficial just the same. I think it prepared me for how I need to look at my work when it really is just me looking at it. Now that I know no one will be sitting there, waiting to tell me what I need to fix, it makes me want to take my own personal editing and revision more seriously. But it’s still really scary.

And it’s sad too. I’m going to miss everyone I’ve spent so much time with, and their work–the stories I will never know the ends to! Alas!

Not to mention the adorably self-aware emails:

Hey All,

So as I read my end-note again, I think it might sound a little passive-aggressive?  That certainly was not my intent, I really do want comments on thematic cohesion, lack of plot and conflict, etc.  I think I was just trying to say that my insecurities regarding this piece are about both the content and form of the piece.  So comments about length, pacing, sections that don’t work within the form would be appreciated also.  Was this email even needed?  Anyways, thanks for reading!

Oddly enough, as glad as I am to be done with workshop, I know the first thing I’ll do when I graduate and move to Columbus is seek out a writers’ group. Something about it seems so natural now. It’s a second nature. Guess I did learn something from grad school after all.



Filed under Grad School

6 responses to “What do you mean, no more workshop?

  1. I understand exactly how you feel. I worked on my MFA in Richmond, VA back in 1992-1995. I remember being elated at finally having my degree–I was moving to Sweden, I was looking forward to new experiences. I was also afraid of how I would cope without having my weekly ritual of writers’ workshops. It took me three years to find a writer’s group that wrote in English. They helped me in a lot of ways. I eventually left the group after close to ten years with them but I am still close to the members and one of them is my beta reader. :)

    • Kristen

      Wow, that’s awesome! Moving to Sweden feels like a huge leap too. And it’s always good to hear a success story!

      • It was! There was a point when I wondered if I was doing the right thing but it’s been a great experience living and writing here. :)

      • Kristen

        That sounds amazing. I feel like a bunch of writers are going abroad to live and write these days, not that it’s anything new. But I feel like I am meeting and talking to quite a few who have ventured to interesting places. What’s it like to just pick up and leave like that? Was it for writing or just an awesome life choice? Ah! I could pick your brain for hours!

      • I moved for love. I met and fell in love with a Swede. We had a long distance relationship for 2 years and then we realized one of us would have to move to the other. It was easier for me to move to Sweden, so I packed up everything and moved during the summer of 1995. It wasn’t easy at first–I had to get used to a new language, the cultural differences…the worst part was how dark it gets here during the winter. Being knocked out of my comfort zone was good for me as a person and as a writer.

      • Kristen

        That’s incredible, and quite romantic :) I’m glad you’ve been able to make it work! Your experience is quite inspiring.

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