Friday, February 17, 2012

Writing Workshop- Version 1.0

Me and Restaurant Baby at our very first Writing Workshop session.
One of my goals in 2011 was to become a writer professionally. Writing has always been my passion and I had come to a point where I was willing to give up my day job for one that incorporated more of a writer's role whether it be in corporate communications, journalism, public relations, or freelance. This was an industry switch for me and I was encountering the same problem over and over again with every job I was applying to. I had no applicable writing samples to share.

Over a year ago, I was talking with my friend Madeline, who writes the blog Restaurant Baby. She proposed for us to start and commit to a writing session every month. This session would entail one hour of writing with half an hour of feedback. The common goal was to take time out of our busy lives and commit to writing. These sessions, dubbed Writing Workshop, would give us time to work on blog content, writing portfolios, and overall improve our writing skills.

We structured our sessions in this manner:

  • 5-10 minute introductions of what we were writing about and any concerns we had regarding our writing topics
  • 1 hour of solid writing
  • 15 minutes of critique

The formula worked well and Writing Workshop was serious. Towards the end of the year we decided to try a new method and adopted the Southeastern Louisiana University writing program writing marathon method.

The approach was similar to ours. Write for an hour uninterrupted. The difference at the end was that we did not critique each other. Each participant was to read out loud their writing sample. The point was to hear your own voice. Reading what we wrote out loud gave our words a new dimension. It is a challenge to feel comfortable with one's own voice.

After one year of Writing Workshop, we evaluated our method again. It is working well. Future changes may include adding in short 10 minute writing exercises whether it be to focus on descriptions, answering questions, or something like a writing rant.

Are you a part of a writing group? Do you use writing exercises to polish your craft? What has worked for you? Please post your comments or advice here. We'd love to hear about your experiences.

Restaurant Baby

Southeastern Louisiana University Writing Marathons


  1. This is awesome Rachel! I hope your commitment pays off!
    I should probably focus more on honing my writing skills.

  2. Thanks for all your support Ro and Jocy!