It was a warm ‘welcome back’ to my DGS young writers this week (and welcome back to you too, if you’re following this Blog. I really appreciate it).
It was time to assert the ethos of this mentoring programme: it’s all about WE. Not ME.
Part of the purpose of meeting together is to include all these individual, talented people in a community of writers. I have been using the word ‘community’ deliberately with the students from day one, as I can’t impress upon them enough the importance of meeting together with other writers.
Writing is inherently an isolated, introverted activity and there will be times when we really need each other – for encouragement, feedback on the work and simply to be able to be ourselves with others who ‘get it.’
So, our table is a ROUND one – I bring notes, tasks, strategies, and so do they. And I’ve already started to build their confidence in sharing their work with the group (some stunningly original free writing was thrown into the mix this week, possibly by those who have never read their work aloud to other writers before!)
I shared some simple tips on HOW to give constructive feedback, modelling it with my own responses to the work they read, and this will pave the way for them to work in smaller groups in the coming weeks, reading their new stuff and providing invaluable peer writer feedback.
We also managed to squeeze in an introduction to free writing…
Here’s what we thought that was all about:
plus the role of observation in our work: how can we tune-up our observation skills? And this feeds neatly into our –
Writer’s Development Task 2:
In your writer’s notebook, write something every day.
Write what you see. Observe, looking for details, but DON’T EDIT.
If you’re trying these tasks for yourself, or with your own writers group, why not comment on this post and let me know how it’s going?
Until next week …