On Workshopping

Over on Carter’s Little Pill Julie talks about why she doesn’t workshop. In a later post, there’s discussion about poetry workshops in general, which discusses hidebinding and other shortcomings.

I have also had the experience of being acquainted with an online writers’ group that prided itself on not being a workshop. At that time I defended workshops. I still will; I’m pretty happy with PFFA. But how does the workshopping process work? What makes something hidebound, and makes something else healthy? What makes PFFA, for instance, any more worthwhile an experience than Eratosphere or whatever other workshop? Or is it simply a matter of personal preference?

Comments invited and welcome.

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6 thoughts on “On Workshopping

  1. It’s all personal preference, I think. Personal development, attitude, personality, style, whathaveyou. Erato is hidebound one way, pffa another, Gaz a third. Workshops are all about personnel and atmosphere, I guess, and what works for me isn’t going to work for sane people. 😀

  2. Personal preference, yes.

    I’d never heard of Eratosphere before Julie’s post. I probably wouldn’t be interested in hangin’ there, mainly because it seems heavily into the meter thing, and meter gives me a rash. Talk to me about meter and you might as well be talking in Martian. Houston, we have a problem. It does not compute.

    I have heard of PFFA. I half-facetiously refer to it as the “nazi poets board.” Not that I’m allergic to snide, but at this point in my life I’d rather not wallow in it daily. A little goes a long way. I peek into PFFA every now and then to see if there’s anything interesting on the challenges board, but that’s about it.

    After a 5-year writing lull, a friend invited me to a poetry workshop she had found. It’s a small, ecclectic group, and I have fun there. Fun being the operative word. I don’t mind putting energy into a group as long as I’m having fun doing it. If the atmosphere ever became oppressive, I’d probably find somewhere else to hang, maybe the Water Cooler. They seem pretty laid back there.

  3. Julie, hidebinding is a problem, and I do imagine that there’s a large element of personal preference. But there’s also an element of groupspeak, which is sometimes troubling even to me, veteran moderator that I am.

    Agnes, welcome to my blog, and thanks for the comment. I’ve drawn on some of its ideas in the latest post.

  4. Thanks for the welcome. Groupspeak, is that anything like pack mentality? ::grin:: It’s not unusual for most groups, is it? Seems pretty common on the internet, anyway.
    BTW, I noticed Julie wasn’t the only one to raise a bit of fur over there. If they haven’t removed it, you can check out Blurb Wars down in general conversation. People crack me up. I should carry Elmer’s glue.

  5. *sigh*

    True. I guess you just have to make your choice and live with it.

    I like PFFA not only because of the tolerance for the range of styles but because it’s so polyglot. Not the poetry, necessarily, but the membership, which has welcomed me.

    I don’t get the same feeling of comfort on, say Erato (but maybe too that’s because I’m not a formalist). I found a better fit at the Gaz for a while.

    I imagine it is pretty personal.

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