Writeshop Wednesdays

If you want to skip the creation story and get straight to the meat, scroll down to the section titled “Working on Writeshop”.

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It was a harrowing journey for Behrouz and myself, a sudden late March snowstorm on the hilly and meandering roads of upstate New York. We were headed to a surprise dinner for a former colleague and forever friend Kevin Huynh, who was stepping away from his role as the COO of CreativeMornings and embarking on a round-the-world journey.

Our rental Nissan Maxima with it’s all season tires was no match for the sleet before us. As we crawled across the empire state at a snail’s pace, our conversation meandered from international development to community building until we eventually landed on professional development.

Behrouz, an accomplished designer with start-up agency Jet Cooper (since acquired by Shopify), his own design practice, and time as an IDEO.org fellow, was enamoured with a recent speaking role at Engineers Without Borders’ National Conference. His objective was to find more speaking roles.

I aspired to write more, an idea that resonated with both of us. Behrouz shared a concept that he used in the past with former colleagues, an hour of concerted sharing, ideation & creation, and we immediately decided to find a day during the following week where we could pull this off.

#writeshopweds was born.

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Working on Writeshop

The first week Behrouz and I sat down, we developed the following format, which we’ve been trying to stick to ever since. A few weeks in, we’ve welcomed over 20 people to #writeshopweds, and we’re excited to see where it goes. We’d love to see this concept grow in other Toronto neighbourhoods and in other cities. Use the guidelines below, and be sure to share how it goes!

One Hour, in the morning.
If there’s one thing we learned with CreativeMornings, it’s that nobody has a breakfast conflict. Evenings are so jam-packed with meet-ups, socials, openings and gatherings that it’s hard to find a time that works for anyone.

Chit-Chat Time
You’re never going to start on time. You’ll introduce yourself to new people, or update old friends on what you’ve been up to, but you also need the time to get a coffee. Depending on the size of the group, allow 10–15 minutes for this settling time.

Idea Sharing
Take the time to talk out your idea. It can be fully developed in your head, or you can make it up as you go along. Talk it through with a partner or two. Let them build off of it, take it in a different direction, cut the idea up or sit quietly in amazement of how perfectly formed in your head it is. Ideally each person in the pair can share for 10 minutes.

At least 30 minutes of productive writing time. It seems counter-intuitive, especially to an extrovert like me, to bring a group of interesting strangers together to sit quietly in a group and write, but it’s important, and that’s why they’re here… I say this as I sit here quietly trying not to disturb the people around me.

Take the time to sit down with your same partner or someone new and share what you’ve produced. Be it an outline, a finished piece or just a draft. Get some reactions and feedback. It’s the incentive you need to move forward.

Publish, hit send, or share your piece before the following Wednesday. Share it with us.

See you next Wednesday.