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Writer's Workshops: Yay or Nay?

289 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Margo Karasek
Hi Guys,

I live in NYC and there are a lot of workshops to choose from.  According to Google there's:
Gotham Writers' Workshop
New York Writers Workshop
The Writers Studio
The Manhattan Writers' Den
The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop

Has anybody participated in a 6 or 10 week workshop that was worth the $250 - $500? 
Anybody in the NYC area who has participated in one of these or a different one also based in NYC?
Does anybody know free alternatives for workshopping and learning craft?


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I've done the New York Writers Workshop and I loved it. I also did the Writer's Voice, which shares a lot of the instructors with NY Writers Workshop. Your experience in a workshop will very much depend on the instructor, so more than anything, research him or her. I recommend trying to get into the advanced level classes because the caliber of the participants there can be very impressive. I found the money to be well spent because I don't think I would have ever finished writing the book without a structured setting where I had deadlines and also people shredding my work to bits (constructively, of course). I don't feel the need to do a workshop again, but for a first book the setting was invaluable. I really learned a lot. And as for the cost, think of it this way . . . if you were doing an MFA in creative writing, the tuition for similar classes would be well more than $20K per year. Of course, the workshops you mentioned don't give you the same pedigree as an MFA (or, you know, the degree), but you will learn a lot of similar skills.

Now, as for free . . . sadly, I don't know any good alternatives. However, a lot of people who do workshops tend to find their lifelong beta readers there. I still meet with a core group of writers that I first met through the workshop. We meet on a regular basis to talk about and critique our work, all free of charge.   
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