workshopped out

I decided to drop one of my classes. Even though I haven’t dropped it yet, and won’t be dropping it for a few weeks, I feel so liberated! It’s a workshop class and though I have always depended on workshop to keep me writing, I’m finding myself utterly uninspired by workshop this semester.

Is it because it’s my last semester and I am just workshopped out? Is it because I want to focus on myself in a sort of silo for a little while at least and not deal with providing feedback for manuscripts other than my own (or those of my friends)? Is it because I’m just not into receiving feedback from a dozen people at a time for the time being? Is it because the instructor, as kind as she is, is just…TOO KIND for me to be inspired? Or is it all of the above? It’s all of the above. Yes, it is.

I feel a bit of a rebel feeling anti-workshop, especially since the workshop is the ultimate foundation of most MFA writing programs (I say most because I’m not sure if there are MFA programs out there who don’t offer workshops as a core requirement). And I feel rebellious because the workshop format has really been my writing friend for quite some time. Here I am, turning my back to the workshop! And turning completely selfish inward.

But I can’t drop for awhile. I get workshopped next week (I decided to drop the class right after I turned my manuscript in last wek for everyone to read and workshop this week). To drop the class RIGHT AFTER you get workshopped (and very early on in the semester, no less) is a totally dick move. As in, despite your best intentions, what everyone’s going to think is “Asshole!” There’s a lot of trust in a workshop–we read each other’s work in the spirit of how we want our own work to be read and analyzed. We trust we’ll all get our turn. So I’ll hold on for a bit, in respect of the workshop.

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4 Comments

Filed under MFA, Miscellaneous, Writing

4 responses to “workshopped out

  1. Ha. You’re right. I’ve had countless students drop my class (am I too kind??) immediately after their own workshop, and I always do think, Asshole! (or at least, selfish jerk) I think if a workshop is truly not working, the high-road thing to do is to drop BEFORE one’s workshop. But I know there is a huge curiosity factor, and hardly anyone can actually stand to leave without knowing others’ response to their work. (What will they say? Will it be helpful?)

    I have massively mixed feelings about writing workshops myself. I’ve led a ton of them, and participated in many dozens. Sometimes they are so INCREDIBLY helpful, but often not so much. I think they can be really, really good for beginners who have no idea what to even look for in their own work or others’. It takes time to develop these things, and also to develop good writing partners who can provide the workshop experience without the agony of reading a lot of excessive pages that just clog our brains. I think ultimately writers end up with their own private workshops of trusted writer/readers.

    PS. I do respect your waiting, in order to respect the group in your workshop. That’s high-road too.

  2. now here’s the thing…i’m planning to not tell the instructor i intend to drop.

    should i let her know i intend to drop and will participate for one whole round of manuscripts?

    i dunno.
    bleah.

  3. I also felt burnt out on the workshop format by the end of my MFA. I just felt like I’d rather spend more time writing and less time reading other people’s stuff. Selfish maybe? I guess I felt burnt out on school overall.

  4. Yeah, and I can totally understand being burned out of workshops. I would be too burned out for anything weekly, now, but maybe that’s because I did six weeks of it daily this summer. It’s just hard, in school… especially if you’re also doing academic courses. (I did an MA in Creative Writing, and it was half academic lit courses and half workshops., plus a thesis.)

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