Over the years, I've developed the following principles and practices to support Global Majority writers of color and cultivate spaces which feel creative, safe and inclusive. Some of my methods have been inspired by writing workshops I've taken, some are drawn from spiritual and personal development spaces, and some are the result of personal experience. Any story workshop or retreat is a living space, so each one is different but, no matter what, I strive to lead from the following principles and guide participants to do so as well.
The workshop is a sacred space, treat it as such by being present, practicing respect, and having an open heart.
Welcome newcomers. Taking that first workshop demands bravery and vulnerability; honor those who have taken the leap and be gentle.
The rules of narrative are guides not laws; they are handy for getting started, for getting out of holes, and for making sure you're understood.
When offering feedback, rather than suggestions, propose questions that deepen a writer's understanding of their work and themselves (and don’t interrupt them while they’re talking).
When offering feedback, keep the focus on what’s working in a piece rather than what isn’t. Research shows that a person’s capacity to learn shuts down in the face of criticism.
Embrace the validity of all viewpoints, experiences, and linguistic variations (ie. slang, African American Vernacular, Miami English). There are innumerable ways to see and say everything.
Don’t pigeonhole a writer based on their background or race. Not all Black people want to write about racism, not all Indigenous people want to write about spirituality.
Draw on the group’s collective wisdom, it’s greater than the sum of its parts.
When we talk about our stories, we're talking about our lives. The workshop space is not only for developing your work, it's a space which can potentially transform your life and the lives of others.
It’s okay to take a nap. Sometimes what a writer needs right now more than anything is to refill their well.