No one is a perfected writer. Not you, not me, not your friend, not the published author, not Shakespeare.
Well, maybe Shakespeare.
Every writer needs feedback. Every writer can improve. Every writer can learn from other writers, as well as from those who consume their writing. This is the purpose of the Writer’s Workshop, and especially the Writer’s Circle.
In the Writer’s Workshop, participants discuss poetry in the abstract. Its purpose, its creation, its varying forms. They discuss the hows and whys and whats of poetry, and learn how to read and understand it in its myriad expressions. It is exciting, inspiring, and intellectually stimulating. It is the cerebral exploration of writing.
Then comes the writing itself. Writing a poem often goes beyond the cerebral, dipping deep into the well of emotions and the subconscious. For many, writing is the opening and pouring out of heart and soul upon the page. This is what causes anxiety over sharing one’s work with others. Sharing is vulnerable. Asking for and being open to feedback is sometimes excruciatingly vulnerable.
Yet, to be writers, we must be willing to expose ourselves to others’ opinions. We must receive feedback in order to get better. In the Writer’s Circle, we endeavor to hold safe space for writers to be vulnerable, and to receive the feedback they need in a kind, constructive, and supportive way.
When a writer participates in a Writer’s Circle, they are asking for feedback, and offering it to others in a supportive and constructive way. This means they go beyond “I like it” to offering specific examples of what they liked and why, and which parts might be improved, and why or how. The participants give this advice without expectation that the writer will take it. It is, ultimately, the writer’s work, and they do not have to change it if they do not choose to. However, if it is caring and constructive, the writer will be able to consider ideas and use them as they see fit. In an atmosphere of caring and trust, where each participant wants to grow and help others grow as writers, everyone can develop more fully as a creative being.
For more information, check out my next pages on feedback.