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The Writers' Greenhouse: FAQ

Courses and workshops: Frequently asked questions

If there's anything you want to know which isn't covered below, please do email me at megan@thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk. You can jump to specific questions by clicking on each one.

 

General questions

Are the courses and workshops suitable for beginners?
Do I need to be working on a novel / story already?
Can I join from outside the UK?
Can I pay in instalments?
Do you give feedback on our writing?
How much homework do we need to do?
What if I have to miss a class?
I'm interested but I'm shy help!

Accessibility questions

Does it matter if I'm dyslexic?
Can I do a course or workshop if I'm visually impaired?
Are the courses accessible for people with mobility difficulties?
What if I have fatigue issues or an illness?

General questions

Are the courses and workshops suitable for beginners / experienced writers?

Yes: if you've done lots of writing before, great, and if you haven't, that's fine too. All the courses and workshops are multi-level and use process-teaching: in practice, this means you try out different techniques and experiment with them in class, to explore each topic. On all my courses and workshops, my students have ranged from complete beginners to experienced and published writers, who've all found them accessible, useful, and rewarding.

Do I need to be working on a novel / story / poems already?

No, but you can be. If you're just starting out, every course and workshop will help you create from scratch. If you have a work in progress, then some of the courses and workshops will help you work on that in the sessions, some will give you techniques and strategies to apply to it.

Can I join from outside the UK?

Increasingly, yes. The weekend online workshops are open to bookings from anywhere in the world. For the multi-week online courses, I'm currently working on timings and strategies to open them up to worldwide bookings. I hope to have this in place for Meddling with Poetry, starting Feb 2024. You can also access the Freestyle courses and Writing Skills any time and from anywhere.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes. For the multi-week courses, you can either pay upfront OR pay a deposit and can then pay the rest in instalments. Usually, that's equal monthly instalments, but if you prefer to pay weekly or need to shift the payment dates to match your salary date, that's fine. For the workshops, you pay in full to book single workshops. For multiple workshops, you can pay in full up front OR pay 50% to book and then the rest the week before the workshop.

Do you give feedback on our writing?

In the multi-week courses, yes. Each course includes feedback on 2-3 pieces of writing (2 pieces for the 8-week courses, 3 pieces for the 12-week Story Elements course). This can be your own independent writing or a piece of writing emerging from that class, and it can be prose (up to 2000 words) or a poem (up to 40 lines). The one-day and weekend workshops don't include writing feedback, but you can independently book writing feedback here.

Getting feedback can be a nerve-wracking prospect for some, but don't worry – I promise it's not. I'm not marking your work; I tell you what's good and make suggestions for how to improve it or develop it further.

How much homework do we need to do?

For most of the courses, I give you optional activities for between classes, so if you'd like to spend more time exploring the topics, you can, but if you're too busy, that's fine. For Story Elements, you get a 20-minute assignment each week, which helps us keep track of the collective Plot Bank that the group is creating.

The exception is the pieces of writing that I give you feedback on: obviously that may take longer than 20-30 minutes and it's up to you how much you submit, but it's a good opportunity to get free feedback on your writing.

What if I have to miss a class?

At the end of each class, you get a booklet summarising what we've covered in that class, so you won't miss out on the info. If you have to miss a class, I'll send you DIY instructions so you can do the activities in your own time if you'd like to.

I'm interested but I'm shy – help!

Lots of writers are introverts, so you're in good company! For the in-person courses, when you arrive, you'll get a little name label with a symbol on it (leaf, flower, or tree) which indicates which table you're sitting at, so you don't have to worry about choosing who to sit with. For the online courses, you'll be grouped in breakout rooms for small-group work, so it's easier to meet people.

The groups are always maximum 4 people, so you're working with a small group. Between sessions of a course / workshop, I move people around so that everyone gets a chance to meet everyone in that small-group setting. Within your group, you're kept busy with discussion questions and activities, so you get to know people by working with them on things. The atmosphere is friendly and supportive.

Accessibility questions

Does it matter if I'm dyslexic?

No. Dyslexia will not prevent you from doing the courses and workshops, and it certainly doesn't stop you from writing well. Hans Christian Andersen, Agatha Christie, WB Yeats, Lewis Carroll, Ernest Hemingway, Roald Dahl, and Mark Twain were all dyslexic. You do the writing; let someone else worry about spelling and punctuation. (A proofreader or a friend can fix your spelling and punctuation, if you need them to.)

If dyslexia affects your reading: I can email you any extracts or reading passages that we'll read in class, in advance. That way you can read them at your own pace and use the class-time to refresh your memory. (This offer is open to everyone!) I colour-code all the materials, so everything is printed on coloured paper, which some people with dyslexia find easier to read. I also use a clear, sans-serif font on all body-text.

Can I do a course or workshop if I'm visually impaired?

Absolutely! Contact me on megan@thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk so we can discuss how best to make the course or workshop accessible for you. Depending on your preference, this could include a mix of...

  • Digital documents for your screenreader
  • Brailled handouts
  • Large-print handouts
  • Audio recordings for class reading

Please let me know as much in advance as possible, especially for Braille materials as those take a while to order.

Are the in-person courses accessible for people with mobility difficulties?

Not fully: I run the in-person courses from my home, which isn't suitable for full-time wheelchair users. There are a few steps to get into the house (4 steps from the driveway, 1 to get into the house), 1 into the conservatory where the courses are held, and 1 in the bathroom, which is too narrow for wheelchair-use.

What if I have fatigue issues or an illness?

I'm very happy to make arrangements to make the classes easier for you. Some things previous students have found useful are...

  • getting the readings in advance so there's less to process in class
  • a list of the class's activities and timings, to help plan when to take a break if you need one
  • for in-person classes, seating with appropriate support

I have spent years working around a chronic illness and am very sympathetic to any accommodations you might need, and to getting it right for you. Just let me know what you need and I'll do whatever I can.

For any other arrangements you need or questions you might have, email me and let me know.

Any other questions? Ask me!

Email megan@thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk if there's anything else you'd like to know.

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