About the Workshops
OverviewThe Workshops at Some Blind Alleys are unique, fun, and demanding creative writing courses that expose students to great writing – classic and contemporary – week after week, and allow those students to turn in completed short stories and personal essays that are discussed in a workshop setting. They are literature courses for people interested in writing. The Workshops were founded in 2009 as an alternative to more typical – and less demanding – creative writing courses.
The Workshops are designed for people who love to read, and for aspiring writers who want a serious and honest assessment of their work. Each piece turned in by a workshop participant will receive a thorough and detailed written assessment by the tutor, and will be discussed at length in a workshop setting.
Philosophy and PracticeOf the many misconceptions out there about writing, the most fatal is that a person can be a good writer without being a passionate and dedicated reader of great books. This misconception is fueled in part by the idea that learning is not crucial to creativity. It is also fueled by the idea that publication represents success, or that publication is a goal in itself. Writing is a lifelong process of rigorous study, and courses that teach students to equate publishing with literary success invariably push monotony, mediocrity, and mere competence as standards to which students should aspire.
In a Some Blind Alleys course, there is never discussion of technique, and no assigned reading is ever used to illustrate techniques or themes. All great stories are infinitely illustrative of infinite fine qualities at all times.
Discussions of assigned reading focus on what students like, not what they don’t like. Participants are urged to stop teaching themselves how to write by saying negative things about great writing. Not everything will be to everyone’s tastes, but everything has something important to offer. In an SBA Workshop, we praise and enjoy great writing.