As part of my MA Creative Writing, I have to run a series of Workshops. This will result in me obtaining the qualification of: MA Creative Writing with Pedagogic Studies.
It has long been a dream of mine to teach Creative Writing. (Yes another dream!)
Upon graduating from my first degree in English Literature and History, I wanted to be an English teacher, simply so that I could teach people to enjoy writing and reading.
Lately I have been lucky enough to blend my skills as a Lightworker and Tarot Reader, with poetry, in a set of workshops I have designed, called Poetry and The Divine.
I will be writing a blog about that series specifically, but for today I just wanted to write a little summary of how I go about running these workshops.
I have also ran workshops for teenagers in collaboration with University College London, and will shortly be running a general poetry workshop for members of the public, with Westminster Council Libraries.
In the past, I have scouted the web for articles and tips on how to run poetry workshops.
Surprisingly there are very few resources, so I thought I would add my voice:
1. Keep it personal
Remember that this is your creative writing workshop. Unless you have been asked to do something specifically, and even if you have been, always make sure your take on a workshop is something that you are interested in.
The passion you have, will then bleed into the activities you plan.
2. Plan, but not too much.
Obviously it is important to have lesson plans when it comes to teaching. A plan that takes into account introductions and an icebreaker, timings of each writing activity, as well as time for feedback and evaluation.
However I have found that I always deviate from a structured plan, depending on the people taking part in a workshop.
For me, it is important to leave room to tailor the session around those who are partaking.
If fewer people than planned turn up, you can spend more time on each activity for instance.
If everyone is very keen to feedback their work, you can also spend more time on this.
3. Create a vibe.
Set the tone for your workshop.
Do you want the mood to be peaceful and quiet? Then talk quietly and draw people in.
Discuss the ‘rules’ of the workshop at the start of the session.
These can be as simple as stating that what goes on in the workshop is confidential, and that respect for each individual’s work is paramount.
Create an atmosphere that makes people comfortable.
4. Enjoy yourself and take part
I always take along examples of my own work, and poets work that I admire.
This is to inspire people, but also help them get to know me, and my tastes.
I use a lot of visual stimuli, as this mix of the visual and the written, works exceptionally well at keeping me, and therefore others engaged.
5. Pick a theme
Lastly, I always have theme of what the workshop will be focusing on.
This helps to focus the workshop’s aim and objectives; if the theme is ‘intuition’, the aims and objectives will be about helping people access theirs for example.
If the theme is ‘Water’ aims and objectives may be more generally about using poetry to write about nature.
Remember to think about what you want participants to gain from the workshop.
I hope this helps someone who may one day want to run their own workshops.
Look out for more poetry workshop related posts coming up.
Much love Txx