Workshopping in Creative Writing has helped me be more self-critical of my work. Before entering CW, workshops mostly involved comments such as: “This is so good! Maybe just include some more details in this part, but only if you want too.” These comments did not prepare me for the real world of workshopping. The idea of sharing my work with more experienced upperclassmen was daunting to my freshman self. At my first workshop, I read my poem aloud and nervously waited for my peers to give their feedback. I came out of the experience more comfortable sharing my work with others. It gave me a renewed want to improve my writing. Workshopping made me notice points in my poetry where I could grow and expand on my ideas where I wouldn’t have noticed them before. I realized everyone just wanted to improve my work and to make it the best it can be. A part of me was wary of workshopping my writing because it felt personal and the critique would feel like a judgment of my ability as a writer. When going through all of the poems that I wrote for my portfolio to get into the Creative Writing department and compared them to my revised poems, I saw how much I have improved thanks to examining my work through a critical lens and in a group setting.
After my realization that the process of editing my writing isn’t as daunting as it first seemed, I find myself looking forward to working with poems that I feel need help. For Thanksgiving break, we are supposed to revise three poems for Monday and after the workshops, I now have notes and edit suggestions to use. I see where I went wrong with clichés and vague images. While I still haven’t eased out of my shy shell, I can now receive feedback without shock and bewilderment.
Recently, I had the opportunity to workshop with some of my fellow freshmen. I was proud of the progress we all made and I could see the improvement in all of our poetry. Workshopping was a valuable way to close off the week and to take a look at the progress we all made, and relish the fact that we survived three whole months of high school.
By Isabella Hansen
Class of 2023