Writing It Up in the Garden Guidelines For Zoom

1. Writers work in any form they wish: poetry, songwriting, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, blogging, etc. Prompts are provided, but they are always optional. You may work on whatever interests you.

2. You may share your writing, or you may choose to pass.

3. We share a limited number of words, from 400-700 depending on the size of the group. We suggest that writers pick their words in terms of what they would like to hear aloud and/or what they would like to have responses to.

4. The philosophy of Writing it Up in the Garden is: When plants are new, we treat them tenderly, giving them space, air, water, sun and encouragement. We save the pruning for a later date. No material will be given negative or prescriptive critique.

5. Since our goal is to establish a comfortable, trusting and productive writing environment, group members are asked to adhere to discreet and sympathetic treatment of all discussion and relationships generated by our shared literary practice. Along these lines, when a writer reads fresh work, even if it has been established as autobiographical or non-fiction, listeners are asked to refer to the protagonist of the piece as the “narrator” rather than “you” when giving feedback.

6. Our intention is to create a safe space for writers to share difficult, often traumatic stories. At the same time, some survivors of such situations might be triggered by this kind of material. Please do not censor yourself but do let readers know ahead of time that some material might be upsetting.

7. By the same token, if you do not want to hear difficult material, and another writer issues a trigger warning, simply mute the call during that writer’s share. You can let the leader know, and the leader will privately alert you when the share is over.

8. I suggest that when possible, writers maintain the Zoom connection while writing to enhance the experience of a shared creative working environment. You may keep video on or off, but audio will be muted by the leader. Songwriters may certainly turn the conference off altogether and return when the agreed time for sharing begins. When it’s time to share, please close your documents, put away distractions (like smart phones), give your full attention to the reader. If you want to take notes on another writer’s work, you may do so in a notebook or pad of paper. The quality of the experience depends on the illusion that we are all in the same room together.

9. Please pay in full before the beginning of the workshop. Payment methods: Venmo @Nerissa-Nields-Duffy or PayPal Nerissand@gmail.com

10. Please try hard not to apologize before reading your work. It is discouraging, tiresome and just plain bad manners to have to hear writers qualify brand new work by saying, “This is terrible, but oh, well, I guess I’ll read.” We call this “apron wringing.” Your work
is inevitably much better than you think.