When I concluded my last workshop in Spring 2013, I closed the door on the classroom with a certain sense of finality. “Burn out” is too strong a word for what I was feeling, but something was nibbling at the edges of my satisfaction with the workshops I was offering. A number of my continuing students had come to me with variations on the sentiment that, while they loved the workshops, they were worried that by taking the workshop repeatedly, they were keeping new writers from the opportunity.
I love my continuing students and thrive on my contact with you–I couldn’t bring myself to say, “No, don’t come back.” But I couldn’t argue with what you observed, either. I am unable to expand my workshop schedule by much; I can’t make the existing classes bigger; what to do? I decided I would let the big question mark hang, live with a mind open to ideas, for a while. I marked July 15 on my calendar as a deadline to have a new idea about how to serve the needs of beginning and continuing writers of “true stories well told.”
The deadline arrived. Here’s the proposal:
I’ll continue to teach 6-week workshops, but shift the focus to beginning memoirists. Participants will be welcome to repeat the workshop up to three times, but then are invited to “graduate” to a monthly salon for continuing writers.
Try this description on for size:
First Monday, First Person – A Memoir Writers’ Monthly Salon
Share and critique writing in the first person with like-minded people, first Monday of most months. No smut. Sign up to read on a first-come, first-served basis, and receive group feedback. Listeners welcome as well as readers. Discussion moderated by Sarah White, author and personal historian, presenter of “Start Writing Your Memoir” workshops.
Right now I’m firming up the details of locations and underwriting. While I get that in shape, please let me know your thoughts!
Feel free to add a comment with your feedback or suggestions.