I have had the privilege of taking workshops through Gotham and Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop. I like them both. I have received a lot of input from both workshops. However, there is a distinction in quality.
Gotham is great. It is affordable and you get a lot for your money’s worth. Where I find it lacking is sometimes the students. They were dedicated and motivated enough to enroll themselves in a writing workshop to reacclimate themselves to writing again or writing for the first time. It’s great to read different genres of stories and its great when some people really mark up your story from beginning to end with insightful and helpful comments. Then, there are some in which you don’t really receive a lot of comments or feedback other than, “I liked this. I didn’t like that. Get rid of this.” Sometimes, that isn’t always helpful. It feels like a lot of half-assing about. There was one workshop I recently took in which two stories were supposed to workshopped on say a Tuesday and the class received both stories that Tuesday morning. How unfair is that to both the writer and the reader? We need time to read, re-read, and re-read and mark up to be as helpful and possible and give all the feedback that can improve the work! Maybe I’m pontificating a bit here but I could not stand that. It has happened where students have emailed their work last minute (day of or day before) to have it critiqued. Maybe it happens in other workshops and I shouldn’t be too harsh on Gotham – but if its consistent, then the instructors should step in and be a little strict about it, is all. We are all here for writing. Let’s take it seriously.
At Sackett Street, I was amazed at how dedicated my instructor was to our writing and helping us. The structure was structured but lax – if that makes sense. She gave us a schedule of our writing submissions. If any of us were late by a minute, we would forfeit our turn to a random story she had for occasions like these. Needless to say, some of us were earlier than late! But the best part of that structure was that we really deeply revised each other’s work. Not to mention that we had to write our comments and have a copy for the instructor so we can become better critics! How awesome is that? I grew so much as a writer and got better at critiques in those six short weeks. The price is more for a smaller class and a more intimate setting. Not only were classes held in the instructor’s residence (which was nice) but we also received one-on-one sessions with our instructor a week after our story was workshopped. I think everyone should at least try out Sackett. Yes, it is pricier than Gotham but its attention is so focused on you and your writing, its totally worth it.
There are more writing workshops out there but give these a try. They cater to you based on your workshop writing expectations.