Writing Groups to Help You Get Your Project Off the Ground

Looking to channel your inner Hemingway, but need a nudge?

The North Shore is rich with opportunities for writers of all levels to learn, share and grow their craft.

StoryStudio North Shore
StoryStudio North Shore, now open in downtown Winnetka, is a new writing studio that offers daytime adult writing classes. Aspiring authors can choose from three writing classes: one for fiction and creative non-fiction, one for personal essays and memoirs, and one for writers who want to write stories for children and young adults. Starting in May, the studio also will cater to young writers, too, with a college essay prep class and creative writing classes.

“I think women especially benefit from this atmosphere because we’re willing to talk about emotions. Great writers are willing to put the emotions of a story right there on the page and this can be pretty scary,” says founder Jill Pollack, who launched StoryStudio in Chicago in 2003.

All classes contain a “workshopping” element where students provide communal feedback, says Pollack, adding that the group work can be a little stressful for new writers, but the positive atmosphere makes it the most popular classroom activity.

Finally, for those interested in one-one-one training, StoryStudio North Shore also offers single classes to help give new writers a jump start. For more information, visit storystudionorthshore.com.

Evanston Writers Workshop
Writers gather each week to share their work and offer advice and support at the Evanston Writers Workshop, a non-profit community of both established and upstart authors. A standard annual membership is just $25, and on alternating weeks, writers have the opportunity to join either a Critique Group, where three people at a time submit their work for critique, or the Prompt Group, a peer-led session with varying activities designed to inspire writers and get the creative juices flowing.

“Writing is a solitary endeavor but can be made much less so by a supportive group that nurtures the process,” says Debbie Fligelman, the workshop’s Founder and CEO. “The Evanston Writers Workshop attempts do this and then take it one step further. We strive to advance the craft by providing support, education and motivation.”

Mark your calendar: The Evanston Writers Workshop will hold its spring conference at the Winnetka Community House June 4-5. For more information, visit evanstonwritersworkshop.org.

School of Continuing Studies, Northwestern University
Finally, for writers looking to add a bona fide credential to their resumes, the School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University offers an undergraduate English major in Writing and two master’s degrees—a master of arts in creative writing (MA) and a master of fine arts in creative writing (MFA).

Mark your calendar: The School of Continuing Studies will hold its Summer Writers’ Conference in Evanston Aug. 3-5. For more information, visit scs.northwestern.edu/summernu/programs/writers.cfm.

Photo: StoryStudio North Shore celebrates its opening with Lisa Katzenberger (events coordinator), Jill Pollack (director), and Kate Ancell (instructor and Winnetka resident).