Yesterday, I was supposed to teach a workshop on writing love poems. I got to the venue an hour early, set up, and my girlfriend and I waited for people to come. I left at 11:25 am after no one showed up.
There are several factors to consider, starting with the parking situation. There was some sort of event that caused parking to be a nightmare. However, any one, including us, could have made it there early enough without problems. Another factor to consider is the level of promotion of the workshop by the venue. They only started promoting it a few weeks out and did not get it listed in any of the papers for people to take notice. That should have been something I did as well, and I didn’t, even though I had a gut feeling the venue was not going to promote. Finally, the venue itself is a factor. Based on the show I went to last time involving poetry, there seemed more emphasis on music and doing things around the community instead of literature and while this is not a bad thing at all, it does create a barrier for any literary events or workshops that want to give that area of town and venue a crack. I would like to teach writing, as that is something I never have done before, but I will be looking for a venue that has demonstrated consistency and receptiveness toward literary events and workshops instead of an untested venue.
I’m not mad people didn’t show up, more disappointed. With these lessons learned, I hope I get a better turnout the next time I want to facilitate a workshop.
I did a flash essay for Heavy Feather Review‘s podcast, which you can listen to and read here.
There Will Be Words is this Tuesday. Hope to see you there. This is in a couple of weeks. If you’re at AWP, hope to see you there.