Staying Productive Off-Campus
By Brahidaliz Martinez
As the semester rolls over to the halfway mark, it’s a good time to make sure that you’re on top of your assignments and workshops. Besides attending office hours, critiquing your peers’ work, and revising your stories, it might be helpful to look for resources and events in the DC area. Of course, you can find them in the resources tab, but new writing groups and (free!) workshops are often being added to sites like Meetup.
I’m in my final semester, and I only had to submit my thesis before graduation. I needed to find ways to keep myself productive and refresh my creative well. So, in August I scoured through Meetup and discovered two groups that fit my schedule: the DC Creative Writing Read and Critique Group and the DC Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group.
Every Wednesday evening, the DC Creative Writing Read and Critique Group hosts a write-in at the West End Library from 6:45 to 8:45. Writers are free to attend as many sessions as they wish. The session begins with just writing for one hour and then reading and commenting during the last hour. However, because of unpredictable group sizes and the short time frame, each writer is only allowed to read an excerpt from their work. But from experience, it’s an opportunity to get feedback outside of the MFA program and maybe even gain a critique partner or two.
The DC Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group hosts both workshops and write-ins. A novel workshop and a (temporarily on hiatus) book club is included. The group is open to all, and writers are free to come whenever they can. Just sign up on their Meetup page for the location details and dates. A great opportunity for the speculative/genre fiction writers in the program, this group serves as an open space for writers of different levels. There will be an Introduction to Speculative Flash Fiction workshop on October 28 (6-7 pm), so please email me if you’re interested.
One of the benefits of being in an off-campus group is meeting other writers from various experiences and backgrounds. I walk out of a workshop or write-in session feeling inspired and eager to tackle new story ideas. I recommend going to at least one of the DC groups available if you’re looking for ways to stay productive.