First writers workshop was a success!
Tuesday, August 24, 2004 I hosted my first Writers Workshop in a local library. I was very pleased with this workshop and look forward to hosting more.
The workshop did not go exactly as planned, but that was out of my control. When the workshop was set up, the library manager had told me she would be present and would provide refreshments. She told me she would provide coffee and lemonade for the workshop. Since this was a two hour workshop, I planned to have break at the halfway point.
I arrived at the library with my supplies as scheduled. We did have a nice ocnference room for the workshop. Plenty of seating was available but no table space for those attending. Taking notes was a little more difficult without a table, but it all worked out fine. I had the use of a small table at the front of the room and used this space to display my book, some stationary for the group and some printed hand-outs.
The library director did not stay for the workshop and she did not provide refreshments as we had agreed on. I was a little disappointed in this, but it was too late to make other arrangements so I just proceeded with the workshop.
One of the things I learned from my first workshop is to go over the pre-planning stages wiht the library director! Do not leave things to memory or chance. If you are hosting a Writers Workshop in your community, know what you need ahead of time and request it. Right before the date of the workshop, call the library director and remind her/him of what you will be expecting when you arrive for your workshop.
I worked hard on my notes for the workshop. I wanted the workshop to flow smoothly. My biggest fear was 'dead spots' during the progrram or questions being asked that I could not answer. Having well researched notes with me helped me avoid running into these two problems.
I did an interactive workshop and invited the guests to join in with conversations and questions. This worked well for me. I was able to learn from the group and they took home valuable information from me. I prepared a list of questions to use if the guests weren't real talkative. I found this list to be a big assest during the evening! The questions helped to draw the guests into the conversation.
There was a small group in attendance but each person there had a specific reason for attending. They wanted to learn something specific. I asked each guest why they had attended this particular workshop. As each person answered this question, it gave me excellent information to proceed on so that everyone could go home with the inforomation they were seeking.
I put flyers out all over town and the surrounding small towns. On this flyer I made mention of a door prize. I held a drawing for those in attendance and the prize was a new autographed copy of my book, Only a Game. This idea went over well! It also gave me a chance to talk about my book during the workshop without making a sales pitch to the group. I felt this was very important. I wanted to introduce myself and my book to the group, but this was not a book signing and I was not there to 'sell' books to the group. I was there to help those interested in writing! Winner of the drawing for the door prize was Ms. Dyson. She is a local teacher and librarian.
I started my workshop with an introduction of myself to the guests. I then introduced them to my book. I had each guest sign up for the drawing for the door prize. I had little printed forms for the guest to fill out which included their name, email address and mailing address. I did this as an informal way of collecting the information for myself. This will make it easy for me to do a follow-up via email and snail mail and thank each guest personally for attending the workshop. It opened the door of communication between a published author and those seeking to learn more about wriitng and getting work published.
I prepared hand-outs for the workshop. These hand-outs included a list of internet sites that writers enjoy visiting. I also included a list of publishing companies that I know are willing to accept unsolicited manuscripts. Along with list I also included a short list of sites on the internet that are looking for articles to publish. The hand-outs were a big hit with the guests! They wanted this information and it kept them from trying to take notes and write down a lot of internet addresses.
My first Writers Workshop was a success for me and for the guests that attended. I am excited about hosting more workshops and can't wait for opportunities to come along. As a published author it's a thrill to be able to talk to other people that are interested in writing. It's a wonderful feeling to pass along information that might help them find their own way to success.
© copyright 2004 Sherry Gibson