Intermission: Nowhere to go but up

The K-Pop Writers’ Workshop began during what was a dry spell of sorts for me as a writer -- I had not been working for any major K-entertainment sites for over a year already, and I had little drive to write for my own blog, Pop Reviews Now. I had been thinking about a project like this for a long time, but never had the means to fully execute it. The execution came at the right time though, as 2013 marked my fifth year as a blogger and I knew I had to do something big.

And that something big was The K-Pop Writers’ Workshop.

Inspired by the workshop system used for creative writing classes in my university and many others, The K-Pop Writers’ Workshop aims to bring back a sense of community among K-Entertainment writers and improve the quality of K-Entertainment writing and thinking. We have many other goals, but those two are the ones we wish to emphasize the most. And those are goals that will never really end -- there is always room to expand our community, and there is always a need for improvement.

Two workshops were held this year, and they really were unforgettable experiences. Allow me to share some of the many things I learned over the course of these two workshops.

The first workshop merely scraped the surface, and as workshop head I was still trying to place a handle on things. It was a rocky experience compared to the second workshop, but I learned so, so much about running a project as ambitious as this, and even more about my own writing. As a writer I’d never been one for revisions, because I’d either revise very little or re-write the entire piece out of frustration over my writing. But I was forced to look at my own work with a constructive eye, something I know I need to develop. The workshop also gave me a picture of what K-Pop writing had evolved into -- as I said I hadn’t been writing for any major sites for quite a while, and aside from a small circle of blogger friends (who make up the workshop’s core ground) I knew very little, if not nothing, about what K-Pop writing is like these days. And I think that was the most important thing the first workshop allowed, because it gave me a more solid direction to push further workshops towards.

Which is why by the time I started putting together the second workshop, I knew there were changes to be made. The basic workshop system -- present a piece, get (and give) constructive comments, and revise accordingly -- was to stay, after all it is the foundation of this entire project. But I tried my best to make the workshop environment warmer, to make it as much about building our community as it is about improving writing, because that’s how I had always wanted it to be. The two go hand-in-hand, and we were able to start working towards that in the second workshop. While I do still keep in contact with some of the writers from the first workshop, I keep in contact with more from the second. It’s even more fulfilling to know that the workshop really has started building a community of K-entertainment writers, and seeing participants interact with each other outside of the workshop setting is small, but very much tangible, proof of that.

The two workshops this year have given me so much to be thankful for, but they have also opened up so, so many options for the future. There is so much I want to do with the workshop now that I know what it’s capable of, and that includes expanding our reach. One of our main goals for the coming year is that we want to introduce this system to even more writers. We want to learn from other writers just as much as we want them to benefit from the workshop system, because we have much to learn from every single writer who passes through the program. I want this, this entire idea of a workshop, to be my contribution to K-entertainment writing, and I want it to go on long after I leave (if ever I do), which is why I will continue, along with the workshop’s core group, to improve and refine the program.

Thank you for a wonderful start this year, and here’s to all the possibilities 2014 brings!

Applications for the Third K-Pop Writers’ Workshop will open late January/early February 2014.


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