Online Studios

10-week online studios currently available:

  • Format: Individual or group email over 10 weeks
  • Content: Readings, discussions, 10 writing exercises
  • Feedback: Expert critical feedback on 3 writing exercises
  • Start date: On application
  • Cost: $420 * £280 * R7,000

Email highveldreadingandwriting@gmail.com for more information.

FAQs

What are the dates for the studios? A studio starts whenever you sign up and runs for 10 weeks from then.

How does it work? It works by email. You get readings, discussion prompts and writing exercises from me. You email me your responses, I email you mine. And so on.

So I’ll be in the studio alone? If I’m running a studio for someone else at the same time, I’ll ask if you want to share discussions and work with each other. I think it’s valuable to be in a group, but some writers prefer to be alone. Also, it’s harder to get a studio going if I have to wait for a group to sign up, so they run concurrently and intersect if we want them to.

Why do you call it a studio and not a course or a workshop? A studio is a space in which an artist works: sometimes alone, sometimes with other artists and sometimes with a teacher. You get on with your work in the presence of others but you don’t get called on, as in a traditional writing workshop, to critique each others’ work. You may look over someone’s shoulder, if they want you to, but you won’t get involved in what they’re doing. I am the teacher: I provide you with provocative ideas and supportive material; I set you exercises; and I give you expert feedback. Other writers in the studio may listen in and learn from our exchanges, but they don’t participate. Those are some of the differences between a studio and a workshop. In some ways, a Highveld Reading and Writing studio is a course. You start at the beginning and work your way through a carefully designed process. But it’s never passive. You’re in a studio, working.

How much actual writing will I do? Every week, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss in writing the issues at hand and you’ll also be given a creative writing exercise. You can write as much or as little you like. Sometimes it’s helpful to just sit in the studio and daydream, sometimes you want to work til dawn. But I’m a highly skilled editor and creative development coach, so I’d advise you to take advantage.

What qualifies you to be a writing teacher? I’ve been a successful professional editor for 25 years, so I know how to work with words. Editing is all about helping a writer achieve what she’s imagined by paying close attention to her technique. My MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University trained me in literary craft. I learnt how to describe what was going on in a piece of writing and how to evaluate why it served the piece or not. The courses and workshops I took over the three years of my MFA exposed to me to just about every kind of writing, including writing I don’t particularly like. I am equipped to value your work on its own terms and I approach it as a technician.

What kind of feedback do you give? My strategy is to show you what your literary habits are, the choices you tend to make, and then to evaluate when those choices work and when you might need to consider trying something different. My input will broaden your range as a writer as well as provide you with specific advice on improving a specific piece. I’ll do this for 3 of the 10 pieces of writing you may do in a studio.

Do I have to be an experienced writer to sign up for a studio? When I ran Write Sex in 2015, I had beginner writers and established writers in the studio. What I learnt is that the most important factor is a writer’s willingness to submit to the process. The readings, discussions and prompts are challenging, and so are my critiques. Whether you’re in the early stages of exploring your writing or deep into your practice, you can benefit from being outside your comfort zone.

Other questions? Email highveldreadingandwriting@gmail.com