As mentioned on this blog, I spent last week participating in Sing That Like Dovesong (STLD), an online writing workshop for writers of color by Winter Tangerine. The focus was reading, writing, critiquing, discussing how heritage & cultural identities are expressed through writing.
STLD was amazing. I interacted with an extremely diverse and talented group of writers. The varied backgrounds of participants was remarkable, along with the camaraderie – though it was online, it was a safe space and supportive environment.
There were reading assignments dealing with the strength & power behind names, how to reclaim & confront our cultural icons, and how family memory warps our lives. Add in guest seminars exploring dialogue with Angel Nafis and the trauma of diaspora with Fatimah Asghar, and it made for a busy week.
One challenge was technology. STLD was held over three different online platforms: Facebook, Google Docs & Google Air/Hangouts. I had some exposure to these, but I was far from proficient. There was a slight learning curve, but it all worked out. And in the case of Facebook…participation in STLD finally triggered me to join that social media venue after years of resistance.
Overall STLD felt like success. I finished with 3 decent poems on culture that will hopefully be ready for submitting after a bit of editing. I gave and received solid feedback from my workshop group. I have many free-writes and unedited texts with potential from daily exercises. And finally, I know what I’m capable of writing in 7 to 10 minutes – never again can I use the excuse of not having enough time.
Props to my workshop group – Talia Flores, Venus Selenite, Erika Rodriguez, and our advisor Luther Hughes – you made STLD a positive experience. I appreciate that.
If you’re a writer considering an online workshop or class but find yourself hesitating…look into it. If it matches your goals, take the plunge! It can be rewarding and will challenge you to adapt to something different than your normal writing routine. And that change can be a good thing.