The following is intended to clarify my approach and goals when working with writers in individual and group environments. For parents interested in connecting for writing workshops, I encourage you to read the following, then follow up with me through email to continue the conversation. You can reach me at info(at)davejarecki(dot)com.
The overall goals of my writing workshops, whether working with young writers or adults, are as follows:
1) Create a comfortable, inviting and inclusive atmosphere where participants feel welcomed and encouraged to engage with their own creativity and to share their creativity with others, free of self-judgement.
2) To impart valuable tools and lessons that will support each participant’s growth as a writer, no matter where he or she is in their own growth. (In this way, even within a group dynamic, I take the time to connect with participants individually to be sure they are continuing along their own path and pace.)
3) To encourage consistent, constructive writing habits so participants begin to build a daily writing practice into their lives.
4) To increase and enhance each participant’s literary vocabulary, building their strengths as writers, editors and reviewers. Much of this work comes in the form of constructive critique. To introduce the concept of constructive critique, we generally begin with pieces of literature written by someone not in the workshop. From there, we often critique pieces of my writing. Then we get into critiquing the work of writers in the workshop. This is a safe and supportive way to build toward critique, especially with young writers for who the concepts of workshopping, review and revision are still relatively new.
In the past I have worked with groups as large as 20, and as small as 2 (in addition to 1-on-1 sessions). In setting up a small, parent-driven workshop that occurs at one parent’s home, an idea number would be anywhere between 2 and 6, though if space permits, we could have as many as 8. The smaller the group, the more individualized attention each writer will receive.
For a group of 4 or less, individual sessions will last approximately 90-minutes to 2-hours. For 5-8 students, individual sessions last between two and two and a half hours.
PROPOSED WORKSHOP SCHEDULING & TUITION
When launching a new workshop, I prefer to set parameters around the number of meetings, in order to help us clearly identify and work toward goals within a set amount of time. If, once the workshop is complete, we decide to continue, we can stick to the original design, or we can redesign the workshop to accommodate schedules, goals, etc.
I’ve provided the following example to help you conceptualize how a workshop may run. Again, I’m happy to work with parents to design a model that works for them and their child/children.
- Six group meetings of 90-minutes to 2-hours. Meetings are held in a parent’s home, or at a designated nearby location.
- At-home writing exercises to be completed during the week. The intent of the exercise is to help foster good, consistent writing habits. Students will bring the pieces they generated during the week to the workshop to be read, discussed, reviewed and revised.
- The overall six-week curriculum is a blend of creative writing and fundamental basics designed to enrich what they are learning during the school week. Writers will also be able to bring school-related writing exercises to the workshop for peer review, insight and revisions.
- Costs for this type of workshop generally falls in a sliding scale between $600 and $900 for the group (or, $150 – $225 per student, assuming four students). Parents are free to split these costs in any way they see fit. My goal with these costs is to ensure that parents are able to afford these classes within their family budgets.
PAST AND ONGOING YOUTH WRITING WORKSHOPS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING
- The after-school writing program at Woodstock Elementary (SE Portland). Now in its fifth year, this program includes three, eight-week sessions throughout the school year for Woodstock’s third, fourth, and fifth grade populations.
- One-on-one workshops. These personalized sessions are designed to build on the strengths of the individual writer while also introducing them to new concepts, approaches and techniques. When working with young writers in one-on-one sessions, parents are invited to participate, share their thoughts and offer their input into the direction the workshop takes.
- Summer Youth Writing Camp at The Attic Institute (2011). The inaugural youth writing camp (Summer 2011) welcomed more than a dozen young writers, ages 11-16, for a four-week, eight-session workshop built around creative expression, writing fundamentals and critique/review. Writers wrote and shared during each three-hour session, and also engaged in at-home writing exercises.
- Winter/Spring Poetry at Depaul Treatment Centers (NE Portland, 2006/07)
AND ONE LAST NOTE . . .
Take a look at this previous post about the Summer 2011 Youth Writing Camp, which delves a little further into my process, thoughts, and drive behind working with young writers.
Thanks for reading!