• CWP Confidentiality Agreement &
    Workshopping Basics/Etiquette

    Confidentiality Agreement

    This course is built upon the shared expectation of trust and respect among students. An essential aspect of the course is the ability to share works-in-progress, thoughtful criticism, and new ideas in an open manner for constructive feedback and assessment. Candid exchange is premised on a community of trust and an understanding that the ideas and materials will not be disseminated beyond the confines of the course. In addition, pre-publication use of another student’s work could harm the potential for that work, even if such use was otherwise protected by copyright fair use. To protect the integrity of the course and the ability of students to submit their ideas and materials, students may not directly or indirectly disclose, disseminate, publish, or use the ideas, materials, or submissions of any other CWP student submitted as part of this course other than in classroom discussion, assignments, or on closed classroom discussions (e.g. email among faculty and/or classmates in the course, Blackboard, etc.). No public dissemination of any other student’s ideas, materials or submissions is permitted without the express permission of that student.

    Workshopping Basics / Etiquette

    Please observe the usual courtesies to help sustain our workshop community, such as the following:

      Don’t answer cell phones, send text messages, or check email (or go on internet) during the session;
    Listen closely to faculty and to your classmates’ comments before responding;
    Don’t interrupt each other;
    Edit yourself so you don’t talk too long;
    Don’t lead the discussion into personal or other side topics;
    Remember to critique the writing, not the writer;
    Respect the work written by your classmates by restricting your comments and conversation about the work to the workshop.  Nothing’s worse for a writer, regardless of his/her level in the program, than to overhear critical or disparaging comments about the work from fellow classmates or from faculty;
    Recognize the role and authority of your faculty facilitators.  Each faculty member has his/her own style; each pair has worked out an approach based on both of their individual styles and their individual and collective experience.  They set the tone and guide the discussion.  Your job is not to critique or second guess their methods, but to contribute to the learning process.  

    Remember, the workshop discussion is not an adversarial, win-lose competition. It is a group of collaborators with the same end in mind: to respect the work and honor the visions and voices of students in the program; to help each student understand and achieve his or her potential as a writer; to increase each student’s ability to execute the craft necessary to make his/her writing as strong and successful as possible; to help each student gain the knowledge, experience, and confidence necessary to be able to hear criticism, not be deterred by it, use what works and discard what doesn’t.

    Each workshop, in varying degrees, brings out a range of strong emotions: fear, anxiety, jealousy, relief, joy, despair, pride—to name a few.  It’s completely understandable that this is so. It’s why running a workshop, and being an effective participant in one, is so demanding.  If you are doing your best work, you are writing from the center of the self. This core self needs to be honored, inspired, and cultivated. At the same time, the faculty’s job is to question, challenge, point out what’s working and what’s not. It’s not easy. But it’s why you’re here. You are learning a wide-ranging set of skills; you are acquiring the habit of art Flannery O’Connor talks about; you are growing in self-confidence; you are increasing your ability to assess the weaknesses in your work, recognize the strengths, and know how to revise. We are in this together.

    Questions? Email CWP Director Mary François Rockcastle.