Guidelines for safe, fun and productive workshopping for writers (part 2) – intangibles


With the practical guidelines tucked safely away, let’s look at less tangible tips for making your writers’ workshopping group safe, fun and productive.

Essentially, it’s all about the giving and receiving of feedback. In essence, be thoughtful and compassionate and focus on the work. Being too timid or too bolshy doesn’t contribute to the author’s progress. 

The intangibles


1. Read attentively, more than once if possible

Consider form, setting, voice, character, plot, imagery, dialogue, theme, pace, rhythm, grammar…

2. Be aware of the impact of your mood

3. Treat the work with respect and honesty

Aim for professional improvement and care for the writer’s well-being.

4. Express your response to the work

… rather than explaining how you would have done it differently. Try to avoid saying what you ‘like’ and ‘don’t like’ – be a bit more specific, inventive and, well, mature about it ;-).

5. Respect each writer’s unique process (and learn from it)


6. Specific requests or general feedback?

You can either ask for comments on specific areas of your writing or leave it to the reader to read openly.

7. Separate yourself from your work and be open to criticism

Critique is about the craft, not the person. We’re all learning and our submissions are works-in-progress.

8. Maintain your integrity

Writing by consensus often diminishes the work. Consider feedback carefully but make your own choices.

Of course, for a variety of reasons, a writing group may not be your bag. But you still want support, right? That’s where we come in. We work one-on-one with writers of every genre and at every stage of development. Contact us for a free, no-obligation, 15-minute chat about how we can help you reach your writing goals.

May your words pour onto the page,


This blog was born from a presentation with fellow writers group members: Vivienne Ulmann, Rebecca Colless, Mary Delahunty and Ilka Tampke at the Words in Winter Festival, 2018. Here's the podcast of the event.

Photograph by Juanita Broderick.