Writing is challenging, but participating in our workshops is easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how the BWW works.
1. Become a member of our workshop at meetup.com. We use this service to keep track of attendance and exchange files. It’s free.
2. RSVP to a meeting at meetup.com. Sign up for as many meetings as you want. Join a waiting list if it is full. Spots open up all the time.
3. Read the work scheduled for discussion. The reading material is found in the “Files” section. The “Files” section is underneath the “More” tab. (See the photo below.)
3a. How do you know what you’re supposed to read? We keep lists of who is scheduled to submit work for Burlington meetings and Montpelier workshops. The author will post his/her work in the “Files” section 7 days before the meeting.
4. Download and print these files. Prose submissions must be double-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman. Do not reformat these pages to save paper. You will need space on the page for step 5.
5. Read these stories/essays/poems. Write comments in the margins as you read.
6. Write a response. Please type your response, though if handwriting is your only option, that’s fine, too. You are welcome to use the printer at the BWW space (that’s why it’s there!).
6a. What should my response contain? First, comment on what works well. What is the author doing really well, in your opinion? Point out the stuff that resonates with you. Then, with tact, respond to the elements of the piece that didn’t work so well. But remember: These responses aren’t supposed to be judgments. They’re supposed to give the writer an idea of how the piece seemed to you. So write what you observe. Log your feelings at each twist and turn. Make note of the thoughts that come to you. This is not a time to “look for faults.” But you should tell the writer if a passage confuses you, or if a character seems flat, for example. (Here’s some good advice on giving feedback.)
7. Bring these written comments to the meeting. You’ll hand these comments to the author at the end of the workshop.
8. Discuss. Talk with the other writers at the table about what you’ve read. The author will not participate in this discussion. S/he will listen to what you have to say without debating or defending the points you make. You are free to ask questions, disagree with your fellow participants, and build on things other people say. It’s intellectually stimulating for you and the writer! More on good discussion techniques here.
2. Send an email to “firstname.lastname@example.org” and tell us which day you want. We’ll put your name there.
You’re on the schedule and you need to post your writing. Here’s how you post it:
1. Format your files correctly. They should be either .doc or .PDF. No exceptions. Use this template for prose and this template for poetry. Limit 20 pages of prose except when more has been approved by the workshop leader in advance.
2. Log onto meetup.com to post files. Do this exactly seven days before the scheduled discussion of your work. If you do it sooner, you run the risk of letting your piece get lost in the list; if you do it later, you won’t give your readers enough time.
3. Click on the “Files” section. It’s under the “more” tab.
4. Then click on “Add a file.”
5. Click “Browse” to select the file and upload it. You’ll also see a “Description (optional)” field. Write the date of the meeting at which this piece will be discussed. Example: “Peter’s story for discussion in Burlington on Wednesday, 4/16/14.” Please make it available to “Anyone.”
If you have questions, please contact us. We’re looking forward to meeting you!