Writing Doesn’t Have to be a Solo Sport
by Emily Jaeger, Features Editor
One challenge of online communities is creating a warm, welcoming environment in the absence of a physical meeting. Word Tango, which offers remote writing workshops and an online community for fiction and genre writers, is not revolutionary in its concept. Where Word Tango does stand out is in their considering the writing community not only from the perspective of what can be taught, but from how the members can support one other and share in opportunity.
The founders of Word Tango, Elizabeth Pettie, a novelist, and Jennifer Kircher Carr, a novelist and YA writer, actually met each other in an online workshop—a ten-day program offered by a literary magazine. The experience, of working with writers from around the world and having accountability for what is often a lonely process, left them thirsting for more:
“We thought – why does this have to end? What if we could keep the conversation going and invite other lonely writers out there and give us all a chance to connect. Little did we know, that decision would ultimately result in us starting our online business.”
Word Tango has since evolved into an international writers’ community with a variety of offerings. While many online workshops involve extended courses (which often span multiple weeks), Word Tango’s services are focused on the short term—a Weekend Workshop or a Brown Bag Lunch where participants tune in for an hour Wednesdays at noon to write two hundred words.
These short exercises not only help get the juices flowing, but they are “feel-good”: a short-term commitment is rewarded with membership in a writing community and the pride of new work: “It seems small – but it all adds up…you will meet writing buddies and exchange tips and encouragement in a supportive environment… all while you generate new work.”
Weekend workshops, two-day generative courses, boast a talented and experienced set of instructors—Lee Martin, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, as well as Kathy Fish, Jenny Shank, and Robert Vaughn—and creative lens on the writing process. For example, in a recent course, “Disobedient Fiction,” Jenny Shank explores how renowned writers, such as Alice Munro and Zadie Smith, successfully “break” rules—and how new writers can similarly take charge of their own work.
While participation in the Weekend Workshops requires a small fee, the majority of Word Tango’s services—Brown Bag Lunches, submit-athons, write-ins, as well as access to the online community and newsletter, are free. Join Word Tango, get inspired, and find that writing buddy you’ve always been looking for: “We believe in support and connection, and that we’re all in this together, and when we treat each other well, we all thrive.”
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