Workshops for Anyone with the Writing Bug

The purpose of creative writing is to use imagination and originality to tell a story with strong written illustrations through poetry, short stories, novels, or even music with the writing of song lyrics.

The Seven Bridge Writers’ Collaborative (SBWC) is a 501 c 3 non-profit writers collaborative which was formed in 2013 “to connect, encourage and support writers in Central MA through educational programming, writers’ groups and literary events,” says Paula Castner, Chief Operating Officer of the collaborative.

“We are excited that Seven Bridge Writers’ Collaborative has opened registration for virtual Autumn programming,” adds Castner. “Writers indicated that more so than ever, during this pandemic, they welcome an opportunity to spur their muses and connect with one another as writers.”

Writers can register for writing groups, monthly craft workshops, and one of the many SBWC classes being offered this year which include Fiction Essentials, a 10-week class for learning the fundamentals of writing; Write Your Children’s Book, a four-week class on writing children’s books; Poetry Workshopping, a six-week class for working on poetry writing; Independent Publishing Tools, a two-week class to learn the online tools available for publishing independently; and Songwriting 101, a six-week class to learn the basics for writing songs.

Writing and critique groups and Saturday craft workshops are free to the public. Classes are fee-based and registration is required.

According to Castner, “Nothing can fully replace the intimacy and benefits of the personal group meetings, workshops and classes that are central to our mission. But this simply is not a possibility now and for the immediate future.” So, SBWC is grateful for the technology which allows SBWC programs to continue virtually.

She explains, “One of the benefits of virtual programming has been that SBWC writers who have moved out of the area can now participate again, which is wonderful.”

Christian Reifsteck, an SBWC writer says, “I relocated hundreds of miles away in the spring of 2018, but now I have been able to participate when my schedule allows. Continuing my connection to this vibrant writing community has been such a nice surprise. I miss attending the workshops, which are always first-rate, and seeing everyone in person, but it’s been wonderful to continue with SBWC in some capacity and to still learn and grow from the sessions.”

As SBWC begins its Autumn programming, “Write a Children’s Book”, with Sally Cragin, is the first class on the docket to be offered online from 6 until 8 p.m., Tuesdays, Sept. 8 through Sept. 29.

Cragin says, “During our four weeks together, participants will learn what makes a successful children’s book by carefully reading and looking at examples of the genre.” She continues, “Writing prompts will be supplied, and the goal is to create 2, 4, 8, 12 or even 16 pages of a story.”

Throughout the four-week session, Cragin will also talk about editing, marketing, submitting, and publishing.

This class requires registration to receive the link. More information can be found at https://sevenbridge.org/seven-bridge-sessions/classes/childrensbookclass/

“Poetry Workshopping”with Rebecca L’Bahy will be held online from 2 until 4:30 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 13 through Oct. 25.

“This six-week poetry workshopping class is for anyone looking to learn the craft and experiment with various forms of poetry in a supportive environment,” says L’Bahy. “It will offer an opportunity to expand your knowledge of poetry and begin writing.”

In addition to your own poetry, participants will read poems by contemporary poets, and explore different poetry prompts.

“Be prepared to give and receive constructive criticism and feedback, but do not worry if you have never written a poem before,” she adds.

Class size is limited and fee-based, and registration is required at https://sevenbridge.org/seven-bridge-sessions/classes/poetry-workshopping-class-with-rebecca-lbahy/

“Fiction Essentials” with Rich Marcello will be held online from 6 until 9 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 16 through Nov. 18.

“This three-hour, introductory class will be divided into two sections,” explains Marcello. “In the first half, we’ll explore different aspects of the craft of fiction. In the second half, we’ll focus on scenes written by the students and provide positive, constructive feedback on how each author might develop his or her work.”

Class size is limited and fee-based, and registration is required at https://sevenbridge.org/seven-bridge-sessions/classes/fiction-essentials/

“Writing Dialogue”, an online workshop led by Sally Cragin, will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19.

“He said, she said, they said – dialogue should never be that simple,” says Cragin. “Writing Dialogue will focus on helping you listen to your characters and have them interact more dynamically using the spoken word.” She explains that dialogue deepens plot tension, alters pacing, and helps inform and engage readers, as well as establishes mood and tone.

Registration is required to receive the link to the workshop. For more information: https://sevenbridge.org/seven-bridge-sessions/workshops/september/

Open Mic, an online event, will be held from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30.

“Open Mic is an opportunity for local writers to share their work with other writers and the community,” says Castner.

Readings are limited to five minutes and the community is invited to attend and read, listen or both. Registration is required to receive the link at https://sevenbridge.org/open-mics/

Castner encourages people of all ages and with all levels of writing experience from beginners to advanced to join these upcoming programs. She says, “I watched during our Spring online groups how, in the beginning, their writing helped them to process these difficult times we are in. Then, later, I saw their writing deepen as they became more creative in how they wrote and had more time to practice their writing skills.”

According to Castner, the arts are more important than ever when it comes to dealing with the uncertainties in our lives, our country and the world. “Writers capture in words the history and stories of our times. Artists paint pictures which can say what words sometimes can’t. Musicians and dancers capture the mood and affect. When the stresses and struggles of what’s happening around us are too much, being able to use the creative arts to help us think through what we are feeling is good for our mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.”

Seven Bridge Writers’ Collaboration’s mission is to nurture a literary community which is integral to the life of Central Massachusetts, and all are welcome to join.

“Seven Bridge Writers’ Collaborative is for anyone who has ever wanted to write but something has held them back, for writers who want to connect with other writers, for writers who want to grow in their craft, and even for people who do not think they’re writers but want to give writing a try,” Castner says.

More information can be found on their website https://sevenbridge.org/ and anyone can join their distribution list to receive e-mails about upcoming events. To contact the group, please e-mail 7bridgewriterscollaborative@gmail.com

August 30th, 2020
Sentinel and Enterprise
by Cheryl A. Cuddahy

 

 

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