Tag Archives: Back to Basics

JWP Creative Writing Workshop Series – Back to Basics

One of the pleasures of 2018 has been the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop series.

In that time, I’ve covered or am covering (inasmuch as you can cover any of these things in four weeks):

Workshopping Participant Works in Progress

Likely, I’ll be circling back around to some of these again.

My approach has included story breakdown and analysis, discussion, lecture/presentation (definitions, techniques, purpose, effect/impact, practical application), in session writing exercises, take home writing exercises, prompted journaling, freewriting, and field exercises. Participants receive a kit with advance reading including works of fiction, author interviews, and articles related to the aspect of writing being explored. I decided to focus on one aspect at a time for…focus.

At the end of each four week series, participants do a written evaluation which I use to guide me as the JWP CWWS continues – and I do hope to continue to the end of 2018 after which time I will evaluate. I also pull quotes from the written evaluation for my performances review page which I use to sell not just the JWP CWWS but all my services and programmes. This time though I’m going to share the responses to ‘favourite workshop activity’ and ‘goals achieved’. I’m hoping by so doing you can get a sense of if these workshops are right for you.

(favourite workshop activity) “My fovourite workshop activity was reading the assignments and the discussions which assisted with writing my own settings.”

(goals achieved) “Creating settings using relevant details to create the scene. How settings helps to move the story along.”

(favourite workshop activity) “My least favourite activity of this workshop activity was having to do the impromptu writing activities during the sessions.”

(goals achieved) “Some of the goals I achieved were, learning how to overcome writers block, practicing writing more than one draft, and just learning how to write plot more effectively.”

(favourite workshop activity) “My favorite character workshop activity had to do with reading about characters and being able to figure out what the writer is trying to show the reader about the characters’ personality and actions.”

(favourite workshop activity) “writing a character profile based on a photo of a model. It really was an exercise in imagination and conjecture based on little information… (least favourite) “writing what was going on inside of (name redacted’s) head. It was difficult to understand her.”

(goals achieved) “I learnt about how to develop a character more effectively.”

(goals achieved) “I achieved the goal of refining just a little bit more the skill of writing compelling characters. I had planned to expand on a story of mine during the workshop but was unable to because that is not how the workshop was set-up.”

This last critique actually prompted my decision to make the series that followed works in progress (one of the more successful installations, though the person who requested it didn’t participate in those sessions) and to make more space going forward for participant writing.

(favourite workshop activity) “My favourite workshop experience was the discussions and the impromptu writing sessions.” (side note: this participant was also the same participant who earlier in the year listed impromptu writing activities as her least favourite: one of my goals with her was freeing up her writing, being in the moment and not stressing the outcome, and I count her turnaround on this subject as a win)

(favourite workshop activity) “I enjoyed everything at the workshop especially the discussions.”

(goals achieved) “I learnt how to put my thoughts/ goals on paper (journal) and just write.”

(goals achieved) “I learnt free-style writing, how to write a short story, about pacing, mood, the over use of adverbs, mixed metaphors and a lot more.”

Every participant has not filled out an evaluation form, though, keeping it real, the participant numbers are lower than the expressed interest, lower than I’d like, lower than is probably viable if I actually tallied the hours I spent prepping and leading these workshops. But with the creative writing workshop series, unlike my other workshops/courses which do have minimum participation, at least for this year, I have committed to pressing on if even one person is interested. So, pressing on.

The evaluation forms have also given participants the option of selecting from a list what aspect of writing they’d like to see tackled next. This doesn’t mean I’ll tackle it next as I have to plan ahead but it does cue me as to what they’re interested in tackling, and cues them to my interest in serving their writing (from a customer service and sales standpoint, this is about keeping them interested by indicating that I’m open to hearing and interested in delivering what they say they need).

So that’s my report on the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop series 2018. It takes place on Saturdays for an hour and a half (2:30 – 4 p.m.) at the Best of Books here in Antigua and Barbuda. If you’re interested but can’t attend, I provide the kit and session notes, and do written edits and critiques of written assignments for remote participants, so that you get the full – just not the live – experience, on your time. This applies to interested persons in Antigua-Barbuda and abroad. There are two Saturdays of the current series left and I expect to begin the next sessions RIGHT AFTER.


Those sessions, I believe, will be taking us Back to Basics for some FUNdamentals. If you think this is an area in which you could stand to get some practice or if you just want to get in to the habit of writing or to be in a space where you can create (some you-time), or if you have a work in progress you’d like to get some movement on, this series might be of value to you. Going Back to Basics is also designed to pull in new participants as it opens a doorway for those intimidated by the writing process or hesitant about getting started. It’s open to adults though older teens are also welcomed. Contact me at jhohadli at gmail dot com for information or to register.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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