Changes for the New Year

Twenty fourteen will be a year of change for the Burlington Writers Workshop. Of course, that’s nothing new. Every year we’ve changed our system in big and small ways to accommodate what we need/want to do. But our rapid growth has prompted us to rethink some of our procedures, and after consulting with a few of you, I’ve decided to make the following changes.

1.   Announce new workshops/events on the last day of the month.  With occasional exceptions, I will announce a month’s worth of events on the last day of each month. On January 31, I’ll announce all of March’s events. On February 28th, I’ll schedule all of April, etc., etc. This kind of predictability will (hopefully) help you plan ahead and keep your email box clear of random announcements.

2.  No more goofy workshop names. We have named meetings after out-of-context lines pulled from stories, essays, and poems that we’ve discussed. This causes new members to look for stories, essays, and poems with those out-of-context lines as titles. It’s causing too much confusion, so this practice should stop. We will use titles that more accurately represent the purpose of the workshop.

3.  Standardize workshop times. We will make permanent our workshops on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. We’ll also have songwriting workshops every third Sunday, and reading discussion groups every other Saturday (more on this later). This does not mean we won’t plan other workshops as needed. For example, workshops in which StoryhackVT experts appear to help with digital storytelling depend on their availability and therefore need to be flexible. Ditto workshops with established authors. But these workshops will be predictable for folks who want to attend on a regular basis.

4.   Submit universally accepted file types. When you post your work for review, post only two different file types: .doc or .pdf. It’s become a hassle for many people to open .docx and .pages files, so don’t post anything except .docs and .pdfs. (Note: If you can print a file, you can turn it into a PDF with a free program called PrimoPDF. You can find it here.) Full rules on how to participate are here.

5.   Follow professional formatting standards. It’s important to format your document correctly for a variety of professional reasons. For the workshops we do, I’ll just say that the work needs to speak for itself, without any funky fonts. For prose, follow this example, and for poetry, follow this example.

Hemingway16.  No more alcohol. Bummer, right? Yes, definitely. But it’s a liability. Fortunately, Citizen Cider is moving in across the street, and Church Street is just a few blocks away. The upside? We have all the coffee, tea, soda, and water you could ask for. “Write drunk; edit sober,” said Hemingway, but we do not take this literally.

There are more changes on the horizon, but they’re not quite ready yet, so I’ll save that announcement for another day. In the meantime, if you have questions, or would like to suggest more changes, please feel free to contact us.

About Peter Biello

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered on New Hampshire Public Radio and a writer of short stories, novels, book reviews, and essays. He's also the host of The Bookshelf, a series of interviews with authors from or writing about the Granite State.
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