Writers’ Workshop mixes craft and critique

By Morinville News Staff

Morinville – The Program Room at the Morinville Community Library will provide the setting for a twice-monthly writers’ workshop that mixes craft and critique in one two-hour session.

Library staff member and workshop facilitator Ashley Janes said the group would meet on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each session will include a writing exercise as a warm up, followed by readings from participants in the program. The other participants will critique those readings in a positive fashion, allowing the writers to understand and enhance their strengths.

Janes said she was involved in two writers’ workshop groups when she lived in Edmonton but found there wasn’t one available in Morinville when she moved here. “I was planning on starting one on my own and just doing it at the coffee shop, but then I got a job here,” Janes said, adding Library Manager Isabelle Cramp was in favour of the idea to offer the program.

The first meeting on July 2 drew six local writers. Janes said she feels there is a need for a program like the one the library is offering. “I think doing a writing club in a small town appeals to me because there wasn’t one and there are always writers everywhere,” she said. “It’s nice to sort of build a little community of writers together helping each other out and supporting one another.”

Janes, a writer herself, said she feels more productive when involved in a writers’ group because she is encouraged by the other writers and is motivated to produce in order to share at the meetings. “I have to be responsible to do that [writing] for myself,” she said. “I actually sit down on the weekends and do it.”

The workshop facilitator said the summer would consist of laid back meetings where the group gets to know one another and share some readings. Janes said special guests would participate on a bimonthly or quarterly basis starting this fall.

Meetings will be split into one hour of writing exercises and one hour of readings and discussion of the readings.

The key is participation. “You can get a lot out of doing these things. You are going to get out of it what you put into it,” Janes said. “It’s one of those groups that’s going to inspire people to be a little more active with expanding their writing and learning how to write more.”

One participant who is looking to get a great deal out of the program is Brent Henry. The Health Canada employee has long had an interest in writing and said he is looking forward to sharing his work with other writers. “It’s one thing to write on your own, but it is something different to actually write knowing that someone else is going to listen to it,” Henry said. “It’s nice to get that immediate feedback, whether it is a quick laugh or the eyes tearing up because you got the emotion you put into it.”

Like Janes, Henry said he feels there is a need for a writers’ program in Morinville. “I think there is a big need in Town. We’re a small Town but we are growing,” he said. “We have a lot of hidden authors of hidden potential authors.”

There is no cost to participate in the program. For more information call the Morinville Community Library at 780-939-3292.

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