Earlier this week I wrote about some of the online writer's workshops that I considered before taking a class recently. Today I'll write briefly about the criteria I used to make my decision.
1) Since it was my first time doing an online writing workshop, I wanted to go with an well-established program that would have worked out all the kinks for the remote student and that I felt I could trust.
2) I wanted the workshop leader/teacher to be someone whose work I knew and liked, but whose work was somewhat different than mine. I hoped for this in order to increase the odds that I would learn something new and push myself in useful ways.
3) I wanted a workshop that required writing samples before a writer is accepted into the program. This was important to me because I thought it would keep me from being admitted to a workshop I wasn't ready for, and would also hopefully group me with students working at the same level with me, with whom I hoped to make connections that would last past the end of the workshop.
4) Timing was important. I'm on a break right now from work, as the winter teaching semester ended and spring hasn't started yet, and I wanted to do the course in during my down time. I also wanted a workshop that spanned some weeks or a month or two, if possible, rather than an intensive course, which meant a course ideally starting right after I began my break and ending right before school starts again. A pretty specific requirement that affected my decision quite a bit.
5) Cost is always a consideration.
So what did I end up taking? I took Carolyn Forché's class at 24PearlStreet, the online classroom of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. This satisfied my criteria # 1 - #3. It was an intensive 5-day course, which wasn't particularly what I wanted, but I learned something valuable from that. It was also on the more expensive side of programs I researched, but I hoped that by going with a program name I knew well and with a poet I really respected, it would be worth it.
So that's how I made my decision.
My next post will be about my actual experience.