1. Writers work in any form they wish–poetry, fiction, journal/personal essay, etc. Prompts are provided but they are always optional. You may work on whatever interests you.
2. No writer is required to read aloud what he or she has written, but any participating writer may read to the group. Likewise, no one is required to respond to the work of others.
3. Writing time is included within each workshop session itself—we do not work with writing you do at home. When sharing, please read only what you have written in the present session.
4. No fresh material will be given negative or prescriptive critique. This is the philosophy of Writing it Up in the Garden. When plants are new, we don’t go weeding and pruning. We give them space, air, water, sun and encouragement. We save the pruning for a later date.
5. Since our goal is to establish a comfortable, safe 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. 6. 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.
7. When I call time, please shut your laptops and give your attention to the reader. If you want to take notes on another writer’s work, you may do so in a notebook (you can ask me for paper and a pen.)
8. Each ten-week session should be paid for in full by the first day of the current session. I am sorry I cannot allow discounts for meetings individual members miss. Meetings canceled due to weather or other acts of God (or my gigs) will be made up at the end of the session. You can put money in the little drawer under the lamp by the front door.
9. 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 it “apron wringing.” Your work is inevitably much better than you think.