The term “writers’ workshop” is used a lot of different ways. When we use it at the Ohio Writers’ Association we mean a meeting for Ohio writers to submit their work and give and receive mutual feedback.
Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
When and where do OWA workshops meet?
Our workshops presently meet in hybrid online/in-person sessions in Columbus, Ohio on a rotating basis. Workshops are free and you do not need to be a paying OWA member to join us. To be alerted of the time and place of upcoming workshops, please join our mailing list. Or you can check out Events page to learn more.
What does a writers’ workshop look like?
Typically, our writers’ workshops consist of six to twelve people workshopping around a table for two hours giving feedback on each other’s work. The mood is light and friendly while remaining professional; it’s an enjoyable, creative, constructive experience.
Most participants want feedback on short stories, but others bring essays or other formats. Sometimes work is submitted as a bare bones outline, and other times the author is just looking for nitty-gritty details before they send their work off to a contest or anthology.
The feedback is always honest, so it's sometimes hard when it needs to be, but it’s always a cooperative, pleasant atmosphere.
Can I submit my novel, poem, etc?
Yes! Our focus is primarily on short stories, but you may absolutely bring other forms of writing. Our general guideline for any piece to be reviewed is a maximum of 7000 words.
I don’t have anything written right now, can I still come?
Yes! We’d love to have you. Whether you want to feel out the group before bringing your stuff, or you just don’t have anything you’d like feedback on right now, please come along and join our discussion anyways. The other writers would greatly appreciate your feedback. We just ask that you please read the submissions beforehand and be ready to add to the discussion.
Do I need to be a paying OWA member to come?
Nope! Everyone is welcome to join us.
Will my work automatically be submitted for publication with OWA?
No! We run our publishing and writers’ workshops as independently as possible. Although getting critiqued in our workshops is a great way to improve your work before the next anthology, you are not required or expected to publish the work you bring to the workshops.
You are encouraged to bring stories and work you’ve been working on for other anthologies, contests, magazines, etc.
How do I submit my work for feedback?
We ask that all work you’d like feedback on be submitted no later than midnight of the Wednesday immediately before the workshop. Please email your work (preferably in PDF form) to email@example.com.
You will receive a confirmation email if we receive your work. Writers whose work is selected for the workshop will receive a confirmation email; everyone else will be notified to please resubmit for future workshops. We’d love to have everyone’s submissions workshopped, but time restraints limit us.
Within 48 hours of the deadline for submitting work, all of the collected pieces will be posted to the members-only File Share page for download, so that everyone can read them in advance. This gives everyone the opportunity to read everything and prepare their thoughts before the meeting.
Should I bring written notes?
No, you do not need to bring written notes. Our feedback sessions are just a verbal discussion. If you’re a natural note-taker and would like to pass off what you’ve got to the author, that’s great and you’re encouraged to do that, but it’s not required.
What happens if my work is chosen but I can no longer attend?
Life happens, we understand. Do your best to notify us as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it. If you pull out in the week before the workshop (after your work has been chosen), you are required to attend one workshop before being allowed to submit your work again. This is out of respect to the time readers have put into reading what you have submitted.
Where can I find the workshop materials?
Log into your free OWA account, and then visit the File Share page. From there, download the .zip file and read away!
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at the next workshop!