I wrote last week that taking part in a writing workshop at an event can help you participate more fully in the event as a whole. Well here’s a real life example!
I facilitated a creative writing workshop for a national women’s organisation a few years ago. Several women in the group spoke English as a second language. One of the other women, let’s call her Agnes, seemed brash and confident but at the beginning refused to read anything she wrote to anyone apart from her friend who was sitting next to her. I explained that there was no pressure on participants to share their work though it would be really nice if they did.
We talked about the themes of the conference, picking out some ideas to kick-start writing. I then gave the group writing time, making it clear they could write in any language they wanted and that there would be no pressure to share work.
At the end most of the women read out their work, or summarised in English what they’d written in another language. Agnes had shown her work to her friend and the two of them were laughing so much everyone wanted to know what was so funny.
Given everyone’s interest in her work, Agnes surprisingly easily agreed to read it out. It was a hilarious story and everyone suggested it would be a wonderful story to share with the whole conference.
Agnes did read her story in the summing up session of the conference and got a brilliant reaction from the audience! She said afterwards that she had really enjoyed the experience and felt she had overcome her fear of speaking in public.
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I’ve been to many events and conferences where towards the end I’ve felt overwhelmed by the buzz of networking and the amount of information being given to me! It would be nice to take a bit of time out without losing out on anything.
A creative writing workshop can offer an oasis of calm at a busy event. A good writing workshop allows some quiet time for participants to sit and think (and write) without distraction. This can allow people to catch their breath.
A writing workshop can also improve participation in the event:
- thinking about a topic and preparing to write about it means you will reflect on your experience of the conference and what you’ve learnt.
- writing about a topic can help organise your thoughts
- sharing your writing with other members of the workshop can make you more confident to participate more fully in the event as a whole.
I’ll expand on that last point in my next post.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got stories you’d like to share about writing workshops you’ve been to at conferences, feel free to add them to the comments section below! And if you’re thinking of adding a writing workshop to your next event or conference, just contact me to chat over some ide