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Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Writeshops

An intensive workshop for creating a complete publication or written knowledge product

A Writeshop is an intensive workshop that brings writers, editors and subject matter experts together to develop a written knowledge product, such as a publication manuscript or a case study, in a relatively short time – from a couple of days to a week or longer, depending on the length and complexity of the product. By concentrating writing efforts within a fixed time, and by providing focused support (editing, peer/expert reviews, and access to resource materials), a well-run Writeshop can enable quality written products to be produced very quickly – in days, rather than weeks/months. It can also reduce the total amount of time required from the individual contributors. A Writeshop does require a significant chunk of dedicated time with few or no distractions, as well as appropriate facilitation and organization of logistics.

A Writeshop takes the solitary process of writing into a hyper-collaborative environment where several writers work simultaneously, each one developing selected sections of a publication from a proposed outline. The resulting drafts are then shared with everyone in the Writeshop for comment and critique using a facilitated process that is inclusive and respectful. Based on the feedback, the writers then revise their drafts over several iterations with the help of editors and subject matter experts to produce near-finished coherent final drafts that can be collated to create a seamless manuscript, ready for online or print publishing.

An effective way to document learnings from field experience, project results, and research findings, a Writeshop is also good for producing case studies, brochures, information briefs, training manuals, books or even websites.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Required participants: Organizer, facilitator (who may also be the organizer), writers (who may also be subject matter experts), editor(s) (number depends on number of writers).
  • Additional participants (depending on the scope and requirements of the desired end product): Content reviewers (who can be subject-matter experts or other stakeholders depending on the content to be reviewed), logistics manager (if different from the organizer), production manager and graphic design/layout specialists, IT support.
  • Total number of participants: normally 10 – 30.
  • Facilities: A venue preferably away from participants’ everyday offices (to encourage focusing on writing rather than routine tasks). Venue should be equipped with a large meeting room for plenary sessions, with projector and screen, tables and chairs; and several smaller breakout spaces for small group discussions/reviews or individual writing, each with a projector and screen, table(s) and chairs.
  • Materials: Reference materials (preferably online/digital) as appropriate for the topic(s). Laptop computers (participants’ own, or provided by organizer), stationery (USB memory sticks, paper, pens, staplers, highlighters, marker pens, post-it notes, etc.), shared online document workspace (e.g. SharePoint document library), pin boards with flipchart paper, projector and screen, printer, photocopier, scanner (optional), and editing style guide.
  • Optional but desirable: Approved outline of the publication/product. For urgent or challenging projects, consider voluntary suspension of email access by all participants, to further increase focus and productivity.
  • Time: normally 2 - 5 days for the Writeshop itself, depending on the scope of the desired product and the available resources, plus time before (for preparation, which may take up to a month or two) and after (for finalization of the written product).
  • Budget plan and resources: to cover facilities rental (if needed), refreshments, materials and production costs.

Download the full module on Writeshops (PDF), including when and why to use, how to apply, tips for success, variations, and references.

 

 


 

 

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