Folks, I’m all stimulated to announce a new endeavour, something that’s been on my mind (and entrenched in my heart) for a long time now.
I’m going to start Writer’s Workshop for children – kids and teens, here, in the Delhi area.
The one thing that’s been my constant love since childhood is writing and the written word itself. And, no matter how often I’ve digressed from it and took different routes – in higher study or in my career path – I found myself at the intersection of writing, more than just once.
Studying Advertising and Mass Communication (after graduating in Economics) was the first time I listened to my heart’s calling. Starting this blog (and another one before this) was a way to keep that flame burning. Having a child who shares my love for reading was another sign, possibly? Homeschooling her and helping her nurture her love for the written word seems more than just a coincidence.
And now, after months of contemplation, I’m listening to another of those deep callings from within; a yearning to facilitate writer’s workshops for young people.
Why Writer’s Workshop When There’s So much Writing Happening in School and Due to School (homework etc)
The writing that takes place in school is not authentic writing, I believe. What the children write about in school is most of the times NOT what they would like to write. Schools instruct children to write and do a bad job at that. The aim is for the children to ‘practice’ their writing; to get the spellings right; to focus on the grammar and punctuation. So much fuss about the ‘mechanics’ of writing takes the pleasure away, not to mention it tramples their ‘writing voice’ even before it can blossom.
Worst of all, in school, the children do not have an audience for their writing, which is so crucial for writers to feel the joy of writing. I’ve been through this (nearly 25 years back) and I’ve seen this with my daughter, Pari (who’s 7), during the short time that she attended school. The little girl who absolutely loved to read and write lost the zeal due to the textbookish writing at school. But, then, we decided for her to opt out of school and she soon found that lost fervour. She now writes freely – whenever she feels like – in 3-4 notebooks of different sizes and styles (She loves collecting notebooks. As I’m writing this, she’s browsing the notebooks section of Flipkart.com. Phew!) She and I – we often write together, too. She even started writing her own blog – inspired by me. This is our story.
Now, about the workshop…
How’s THIS writer’s workshop different from schoolish writing (or from any other writing workshop)?
To begin with, it’s NOT an exercise in ‘teaching’ the kids how to write well. There will be no instruction or theory. Rather, it’s an exploration of the self, the surrounding and the five senses. It’ll help the young writers approach writing from inside out. They express what they feel, see, touch, listen, taste.
When they are able to connect with the feelings deep within, they write with their own authentic voice – the ‘writing voice’ – that is their own. No one else’s. They write because THEY feel like writing and not because it’s a task they need to get over with.
It’s not even about ‘training’ the child in a specific ‘genre’ of writing – poetry or fiction or non-fiction. It’s about expressing – no-holds barred and in a way that the child’s senses come alive and makes his reader connect with his writing. The ‘genre’ comes later. First, what matters is the young writer being able to express freely and articulate those thoughts to paper.
Finding the writing voice is not easy. Most don’t find it in years. But, that does not mean a young writer cannot find it. He or she absolutely can – IF – the child gets the right environment, encouragement and feedback to make his ‘voice’ take shape into words.
I call this the 5 senses Writing Workshop. Read some more…
5 Senses Writing Workshop for Children
An Interactive Creative Writing Workshop that Will Inspire Young Writers to Breathe Life into Their Writing.
In this workshop, the young writers will feel encouraged and inspired to be fully alive to their 5 senses; connect with their feelings and write as if they were chatting on paper.
[The workshop will be 2.5 hours long. Each workshop will focus on a specific age group. The Jan. 27 workshop is for the age group 6 - 9, while the Feb. 2 workshop is for the age group 10 - 13.]
The workshop opens with a 5-senses interactive experience during which the young writers learn how to observe, experience and articulate like writers.
They learn the important (but difficult) concept of showing not telling.
They go on to appreciate and learn the value of keeping writer’s notebooks. They learn to comb through and dig their writer’s notebooks for ideas to expand on.
They learn to use juicy, energetic and electrifying words to make their writing come alive.
Above all (and very important) the young writers get an opportunity to read out their writings to a live audience (the group itself) and get constructive feedback from the facilitator (Rashmie).
The entire experience is open-ended (rather than instructional), collaborative and hands-on. The focus is on the child to explore, experience and enjoy the art of writing rather than being taught how to write well. The emphasis is on the child to connect with his imagination and sense of wonder and put that into writing.
Writing, which is generally seen as a task, when done in a text-bookish way, will not only become fun and playful but also a reflective experience in this 5-senses writing workshop.
Why Just One Workshop?
You might wonder, how can one workshop turn a child into a wonderful writer? You’re right. It cannot. For writing is not a skill that can be ‘acquired’ in couple of hours. It’s not like a cake-baking class that you can learn – more or less – in just one sitting. Hence, ideally, I’d like it to be an engagement – an ongoing interaction with a set of kids who I meet once every week – for at least 8 weeks.
But, I’ll leave that for you and your child to think about after your child has taken one workshop with me. If you’d be interested, I’d love to have an ongoing engagement. In March, I’ll announce the Writer’s Engagement, which will be a series of workshops that will explore writing using various themes. More on that later.
Register now for the Jan. 27 and Feb. 2 workshops:
Check out information on date, time, venue, payment and registration. For any more questions, you can write to me at rashmiejaaju [at] gmail dot com.