Writing is not just about getting things down on paper, but also about getting things inside the reader’s head. Writing is not something happening in my mind only; it’s also a transaction between me and the reader. But how do we know what our readers think and how they feel about our writing?
A teacherless writing group is a place where people share their writing and give each other authentic, constructive feedback on how the author’s words were actually experienced: sort of like movies happening inside your mind as you’re reading. It’s important to note that this is not about offering advice on what to improve in a text. In fact, advice helps in a very limited way, as everyone has unique personal histories, values, and modes of expression.
A teacherless writing group:
- consists of diverse people.
- brings together group members committed to writing and giving feedback regularly during a set period of time.
- offers its members «impact feedback», answering a simple question: what happened in your mind when you were reading the text?
- provides a facilitator who makes sure the group and feedback rules are observed.
A teacherless writing group helps make writing easier, more pleasurable, and more prolific.
The man behind the idea of a teacherless writing group is Peter Elbow, Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of several influential books on writing including[Writing Without Teachers and Writing With Power.
I’ve been thinking about setting up such a group for a while. Previously, I conducted several writing workshops and online courses. Now I’m feeling it’s the right time. In the next post I will describe in more detail the kind of feedback that will be practiced in the group. Stay tuned!
If you are interested in becoming a member of such a group, let me know in the comments!