Category: Blog

Introducing NYWC Winter Write-Ins

Join NY Writers Coalition as we kick off our 20th Anniversary Year with a limited run of free, virtual “write-ins” with Founder and Executive Director Aaron Zimmerman!

Participants will gather to write together in response to optional prompts, and will then be invited–but not required–to share their newly written work with the group. There is no writing experience necessary, and all are welcome. There will be no limit on the amount of people able to attend, and you may attend as many as you like. Advance registration is required. (Note: As attendance in these write-ins may be high, there might only be time for sharing writing and not for receiving feedback, as is customary in traditional NYWC writing workshops.)

Our first NYWC Winter Write-In will be Sunday, January 30th, at 4:30 p.m. The schedule and links to register are listed below. All sessions are free, and are listed in Eastern Time. Please click the dates below to access their registration.

 

Sunday, January 30, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM

Wednesday, February 2, from 1 to 3 PM

Thursday, February 10, from 7 to 9 PM

Monday, February 14, from 2 to 4 PM

Tuesday, February 22, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM

 

This is a great opportunity to generate some new material and to connect with our writing community, and we hope you’ll join us! If you have any further questions or requests about these virtual write-ins, please reach out to us at info@nywriterscoalition.org.

NY Writers Coalition

Winter 2022 Writing Workshops

Our next workshop cycle is beginning Monday, January 24th!

We are continuing to run our writing workshops in our 6-week segment format, with the same participants joining at the same time each week, for all six weeks. This format thus requires a weekly commitment from each participant, and will allow each respective workshop to grow and flourish with its repeating members—as such, space in each workshop will be limited. Stay in the loop about workshop updates by signing up for our newsletter or by visiting our Eventbrite page here.

To learn more about this workshop format, please click here.

 

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Mondays (1/24 – 2/28) at 7 p.m. with Timothy
Tuesdays (1/25 – 3/1) at 10 a.m. with Marcie
Wednesdays (1/26 – 3/2) at 7 p.m. with Alison
Thursdays (1/27 – 3/3) at 1:30 p.m. with Tasha
Saturdays (1/29 – 3/5) at 11 a.m. with Michael and at 2 p.m. with James & Marae
Sundays (1/30 – 3/6) at 10 a.m. with Marae

Workshops are two hours long and all times are in Eastern Time unless otherwise stated.
All workshops will operate once a week at the same time for six weeks and require a 6-week commitment from all participants.

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Click here to be taken to our Eventbrite page!

Workshop registration will take place on Sunday, 1/16, at 8 p.m. and Wednesday, 1/19, at 8 p.m. Participants who were unable to join a workshop in our previous cycles will be given priority. Although writing workshops can often be expensive and exclusive, these workshops are pay-what-you-can, with suggested donations being $50, $25, or $0—whatever you feel comfortable with.

Sign up to our newsletter to get informed on when registration goes live in your inbox, by clicking here.

Questions? Reach out to us at info@nywriterscoalition.org!

On the 6-Week Cycle

November 3, 2021

A note on how we’re doing things, and why.

 

Dear NYWC Community,

Before registration opens for our second cycle of 6-week writing workshops, we’d like to acknowledge and address some of the feedback we’ve received from participants and leaders about this new format, following our first workshop cycle. We know that this has been a dramatic shift in our typical programming, and we understand how essential it is to provide more insight into these changes. While we do intend to commit to the 6-week cycle at this present moment, we hope that the following information provides more clarity about that choice and the ways it has been necessary for the NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) team behind the scenes.

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The Impact on NYWC’s Infrastructure & Staff

When the pandemic began, we wanted our workshops to serve as a resource for people seeking community even while sheltering in place, as well as an ongoing outlet for expression. To that end, we decided against retrenching and significantly increased our workshop offerings. While the new community we’ve fostered online has proved just as inspiring (and is, rest assured, a community we intend to maintain in some form moving forward), the impact on our organization has been stark.

NYWC did not provide any workshops online prior to the pandemic, which has meant that we rapidly had to adopt, change, and scale the systems available to us in order to provide virtual programming. Our website is not customized to host workshops and facilitate sign-ups; we retrofit three or more disparate systems at any given time to make online workshops possible. As most, if not all, of you have seen, there are frustrating gaps in those systems’ capabilities, which, in time, led to one or more NYWC staff members having to constantly monitor our efforts—from sign-ups, to sending out emails, to ticketing, managing the waitlist, addressing glitches, and more. While we wish it were possible to maintain that level of attention indefinitely, it simply is not sustainable.

Our aim as we continue to test new software is to find the ideal mix of an affordable, largely-independent virtual sign-up system on a reliable platform for leaders and participants alike. For now, we have decided to scale back on our workshop offerings to ensure a better experience overall.

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The Impact on Workshop Leaders

Scaling up our programming during the pandemic also meant that we markedly increased workshop leaders’ hours. Donation sources such as the Emergency Workshop Leader Fund remain invaluable to us, as we want to continue compensating our leaders for their time even while keeping costs free and low-cost to participants. Nonetheless, our leaders are people with needs and obligations that go beyond NYWC—especially now.

Workshop cycles without end dates absolutely can (and do!) help foster a source of community for people who prefer knowing that a certain NYWC workshop or a specific leader will always be available—but that isn’t feasible long-term. Our leaders experience burnout and fatigue just like anyone else, even as they strive to make every single workshop session a meaningful one, sometimes multiple times per week.

Our new cycle system has the dual benefit of helping our leaders recharge their energy, creativity, and accommodate their personal scheduling needs—but also helps us maintain a more dependable schedule for participants due to fewer unexpected cancellations when people simply need to take a break. We don’t intend to completely do away with the longer-term workshop cycle of the past and may return to some form of it in the future—but whatever form we implement must take our leaders’ needs into consideration, too.

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Training & Program Expansion

An unfortunate impact of the pandemic has been the freezing of our in-person workshop leader training cycles. NYWC has historically held two training sessions per year, an essential—and intensive—undertaking that helps us retain and replenish our leader cohorts. We would like to offer more programming to participants who enjoy taking more than one workshop per week, and expanding the number of workshop leaders we work with will help make that possible.

NYWC’s Executive Director Aaron Zimmerman and our Programs Director Timothy DuWhite are working on redeveloping our workshop training with our new virtual programming in mind. We hope to relaunch our training cycles soon to see how doing so enables us to expand and/or deepen our offerings.

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We are deeply, sincerely grateful to every single person who has donated, hosted a virtual fundraiser, and encouraged others to donate to NY Writers Coalition! That support has bolstered our ability to provide stipends to workshop leaders and even launch new programming and events such as the Black Writers Program and Mic Check. Our gratitude also includes participants who may have not donated monetarily but instead with their time, encouragement, and enthusiasm; without your support in the form of attending workshops, filling out surveys, attending virtual events, and spreading the word about the work we do, we wouldn’t exist. All the same, financial support is only one element of strengthening our organization moving forward.

Our mission has always been and remains to be centered in providing high-quality, affordable creative writing workshops and community to the public, with a particular emphasis on reaching historically underserved and marginalized groups. Determining what NYWC will look like post-pandemic—while we are still in the midst of a pandemic—will take time, as we determine how to integrate our new virtual community with the in-person network that has been our base for nearly 20 years. Please know that although some of these changes may be frustrating, we massively appreciate your patience as we shift, experiment, and coalesce into a system that suits as many of our collective needs as possible.

Your feedback really is essential to us! If you ever have questions or comments, please let us know by emailing us at info@nywriterscoalition.org.

With appreciation always,
The NYWC Staff

NYWC’s Monday Work Room

NYWC’s Work Room is a place to plug away on all those writing projects you have lined up. Join us this fall and winter by signing up each week via Zoom.

How It Works

Participants will gather for an hour to work together silently on whatever writing project they choose that week. The room will open five minutes early so that everyone can settle in. We ask that conversation during this time be kept to a minimum to help the rest of the group get present with their thoughts before the session starts. The Zoom chat box will be open for those who want to share their intentions for the session before starting—but sharing is not required. Although there is no attendance limit, please only sign up if you are sure you can make it; the links to register by date are below.

Background

NYWC’s Work Room was inspired by Sue Reynolds’s Pyjama Writing sessions. Sue is the Chair of the Amherst Writers and Artists Board of Directors and runs Inkslingers, which offers workshops, retreats, and other great writing programs, here. You can also find Sue’s thoughts on how to best use these sessions here.

Support

NYWC’s Monday Work Room sessions are available free of charge—but if you’d like to make a donation to NYWC, you can do so here.

If you’d like to donate to Amherst Writers and Artists to honor Sue’s inspiration, you may do so here.

 

Registration Dates
Register via Zoom Below | All Times 5-6 pm. ET

Monday, November 15 – Register Here

Monday, November 22 – Register Here

Monday, November 29 – Register Here

Monday, December 6 – Register Here

Monday, December 20 – Register Here

Fall & Winter 2021 Workshops

Sign-ups for the next round of 6-week workshops open on Sunday, November 7!

Our current virtual workshop cycles work a little differently than they did in the past. Rather than the drop-in format we’ve previously offered, we are now implementing 6-week workshop cycles in which groups meet once a week at the same time, with the same participants joining each week. This format requires a weekly commitment from each participant, enabling each workshop group to flourish and deepen their writing practices with repeating members. As such, space in each workshop will be limited. Stay in the loop about workshop updates by signing up for our newsletter or visiting our Eventbrite page here.

To learn more about this workshop format, please click here.

Please see our upcoming virtual workshop schedule below:

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Mondays (11/15 – 12/20) with Tim at 7 p.m.
Tuesdays (11/16 – 12/21) with Marcie at 10 a.m.
Thursdays (11/18 – 12/23) with Tasha at 10 a.m.
Saturdays (11/21 – 12/18) with Michael at 11 a.m.
*Michael’s workshop will run for 5 weeks, skipping Christmas Day.
Saturdays (11/20) with James and Marae at 2 p.m.
Sundays (11/21) with Marae at 10 a.m.

All times are in Eastern Time unless otherwise stated.
All workshops will operate once a week at the same time for
six weeks and require a 6-week commitment from all participants.

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Workshop registration will take place on Sunday, 11/7, at 8 p.m., and Wednesday, 11/10, at 8 p.m. (Please only sign up for one of the weekly workshops offered; if not, you risk being removed from them.) Although writing workshops can often be expensive and exclusive, these workshops are pay-what-you-can, with suggested donations being $50, $25, or $0—whatever you feel comfortable with.

A note on our summer programming …

July 20, 2021

At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, NY Writers Coalition pivoted quickly to providing a robust schedule of online writing workshops; within two days of the NY State PAUSE order, we launched our very first virtual workshop, and since then, we have provided close to 1,000 online workshop sessions. We are incredibly proud of our work, of which so many of our participants have told us has been a lifeline through the isolation, uncertainty, and loss of the past year and a half.

As we turn our attention towards returning to in-person programming, we are writing to update you on NYWC’s plans for the remainder of summer‘s virtual writing programs and beyond. Most notably, many of our programs throughout the month of August will be on hiatus—that is to say, not running. This will allow us to regroup from the last 18 months, and evaluate and revamp our current systems for administering our programs. We also will take time for much-needed reflection and planning for NYWC in a soon-to-be-post-pandemic world.

Below are more details about what to expect for the rest of our summer programming:

    • Virtual Public Programs/Summer Youth Program Hiatus: Our virtual public workshops will be on hiatus for the month of August. During the break, we will fine-tune our plan to continue these workshops as part of our permanent programming. One of our intentions at the moment is to shift our workshop model from “drop-ins” model to multi-week cycles. This will help simplify our registration process and create schedules that will enable workshop members to plan in advance. Similarly, we will not be holding our signature Summer Youth Program this year. We look forward to our youth programs returning in-person next year.
    • Black Writers Program Drop-In Workshops: An exception to the above will be made for our Black Writers Program drop-in workshops. Thanks to the generosity of our GoFundMe donors, we are thrilled to be able to continue to provide BWP drop-in workshops throughout summer. These workshops will be first-come, first serve and open to Black Writers of all genres and levels of experience. If you’re interested, make sure to join our email list about the BWP.
    • Outreach Workshops: If you are a member of a virtual writing group that is targeted towards a specific demographic or a part of a partner organization (e.g. SAGE, CIDNY), your workshop leader will be in touch with you about your summer schedule. Some workshops may continue, whereas others may take a break for August.

We understand the importance of our virtual community that has emerged throughout the pandemic, and we intend to do all we can to ensure that it continues to be a space for creativity and connection for as many people as possible. We thank you for staying by throughout all this time, and stay tuned for more information regarding next-steps in late September!


Questions, thoughts, or concerns? Email us at info@nywriterscoalition.org.

Virtual Mic Check 7/30/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, July 30, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

14 St Y Virtual Mic Check

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, April 30, from 7 – 8:30 pm EST.

This open mic event will feature writers from our groups at the 14th Street Y, reading work from their latest publication. Workshop leaders Elena Schwolsky and Rhonda Zangwill will introduce their respective 14th St. Y groups; celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read our 14 St Y Journal, filled with poetry and prose written by the attendees of 14 St Y workshops for seniors.

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS: 
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

Virtual Mic Check 4/16/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, April 16, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All

by Doris Weil

Image by Marjorie Newnham

Sara was eight years old. She read this poem by Maya Angelou, a poet whom she respected and loved.
___But Sara was frightened. Her school had been shut down. Everyone in the street was wearing a mask even though it wasn’t Halloween or Carnival or Purim. They stood apart from one another when they talked. Her parents wouldn’t let her watch the news but she heard the ambulances screaming down the street and she knew something was wrong.
___What would Maya Angelou do in this situation? What advice would she give Sara?
___Maya had a magic charm up her sleeve.
___The only thing up Sara’s sleeve was a skinny arm. Nothing up her other sleeve either. Maybe Maya would suggest that Sara also write a poem.

Sara’s poem
Where is my magic charm?
What will keep me from harm?
Maya, I’m not strong like you.
What do you think I should do?
I know you’re not near me
But can you hear me?

___Just then Sara felt a breeze, smelling of lavender, rub against her cheek. When she looked in the mirror she saw her own face, not Maya’s, but it looked different. It was calmer than it had been for weeks.
___Sara folded up Maya’s poem and put it up her sleeve.

 

Manuel

Manuel was considered small even for a Mexican boy. He was eight years old and lived with his parents and two sisters on an avocado farm.
___He was enrolled in a Catholic school. His family was poor but because he was so serious about his studies he was granted a scholarship. His mother was insistent that he go to school every day and study hard.
___He would wear his uniform; a starched white shirt and navy shorts. When he came home he would change into work clothes to help his father pick the avocados. He only had one uniform, which his mother washed in the evening and ironed in the morning.
___In December, his teacher, a nun, taught the children about the origin of Christmas. It was about a baby whose family was forced to travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth. He was born in a manger surrounded by animals because there was no room at the inn when his mother’s labor started.
The teacher taught that three kings, guided by a star, came with expensive presents. But also, poor people came to see the child. They brought simple gifts; one boy gave the child his drum.
___Manuel wondered what he would have given this wondrous child if he had been in Palestine at the beginning of the first millennium. He couldn’t afford to go to the local tienda to buy a gift.
___Then his whole face lit up as he realized what he would have brought: a basket of ripe avocados which the Holy Family could enjoy that evening for Christmas dinner.

A Bad Diagnosis

Even though she had half expected it, Maria gasped when her doctor gave her a life threatening diagnosis.
___He outlined a plan of treatment but she hardly heard it. “Later” she said to herself, “Later I’ll process this.”
___She went home, got into comfortable clothes and made herself a cup of tea.
___She had always thought about problems by talking out loud. “Okay” she said to her cat which was lurking about. “What does this mean? How does this make my life different?”
___“Of course,” she continued, “I will have to make time for visits to the clinic. But what about the rest of my day-to-day activities?
___Maria knew people who, in this situation, had made frantic plans to do everything on their bucket lists. She knew others who turned inward and basically resigned themselves to the worst outcome.
___She sipped her tea and felt that she didn’t have to make any decisions right away. She would wait and see how she felt after the regimen started.
___But she did make a promise to herself: “I’ll try to figure out what’s important to me to keep doing and which people I want to keep in my life. I won’t radically change my activities. But perhaps I’ll take a few more risks (not medical of course) and plan some adventures I’ve always wanted to do sooner than later.
___Maria felt much calmer as she made herself another cup of tea and cut herself a large piece of the cake on the kitchen counter.