Forging New Paths: The Fourth K-Pop Writers’ Workshop

This time last year, The K-Pop Writers' Workshop was just an idea. Starting it was a huge risk for me -- I would be setting a precedent and obviously it meant doing things beyond my capabilities and my "job description" as a K-Pop writer. I'm not going to lie and say it's been easy when in fact it's been one of the most exhaustingly challenging experiences I’ve had and continues to demand much more than just writing. But I do it anyway. This workshop has proven to be one of the most rewarding and inspiring projects I’ve ever had the privilege to work on and I'm not about to miss out on a good thing like this. As a writer it’s always an amazing feeling to see my work published and noticed, but this workshop made me realize that it’s even more amazing to know that I’m capable of influencing not only myself, but my friends and peers as well. And that, one year later, I have the power to continue doing so.

Over the course of three workshops I also realized that all the writers I've had the pleasure of working with were very different from each other -- that I was mistaken in thinking I was different from everybody else. K-Pop writers come from very diverse backgrounds, have very different reasons for writing, and all have their own ideals. I've met K-Pop fans who liked it so much they wanted to take fandom one step further by writing about it, I've met people who were writers first and K-entertainment fans second, the list goes on. So just because I began writing young or because I started the K-Pop Writers' Workshop I can't say I'm an exception without saying that there is really no "ordinary" when it comes to something like this. Because there is no one "standard" path.

We want to further emphasize the diversity of this amazing community of writers, which is why The Fourth K-Pop Writers’ Workshop is all about forging new paths for the workshop and everyone who will experience it in the future.

The K-Pop Writers' Workshop has had two major goals from the very beginning, goals which immediately set us apart from other projects. We help K-entertainment writers improve their craft and continuously expand our community for the benefit of participants and alumni -- most major editorial teams hold long-term, in-house training and workshops, but we're different because we bring together a diverse group of writers for a short-term program. We provide a space for writers to meet their peers and get to know them further throughout their stay with us (which extends way past the workshop period!), including veteran writers and “big names” in K-entertainment writing. We have built a community of writers and affiliations that we continuously tap into for the benefit of our past, present, and future participants. Beyond networking, the simplicity of the workshop system allows us to make modifications and introduce additions, major or minor, that will hopefully improve the quality of our program and the learning experience we provide.

Ultimately, what makes us different is our dynamism as a project -- each workshop is different and we embrace that. So we know that change is inevitable in order to move forward, especially if we want to take full advantage of a program as flexible as ours. Hence, we are overhauling both our system and our team to provide you with an even better workshop experience. We've implemented changes in past workshops, but the Fourth K-Pop Writers' Workshop will see some of the most major changes we have ever made such as:

  1. Form-specific feedback. We get more and more participants with each workshop and we want to keep the feedback supplied at the highest standard -- focused and thorough, but practical. In order to further improve the quality of feedback we will divide participants into three “paths” based on their pieces’ form -- reviews, expository essays and personal essays/creative non-fiction -- the most common forms published by major K-entertainment websites. These three paths will allow for more thorough feedback from peers who all deal with similar forms, while keeping as much diversity as possible through the different subject matters tackled by each form. Click here for a full explanation of our new system.
  2. A more guided writing process. This workshop has always aimed to be a stepping stone for new writers and writers who want to re-start their careers, as well as a venue for currently active writers to expand their portfolios even further. In order to help achieve these goals even better, we have added to our basic structure and emphasized the importance of revisions. We now ask for strictly unpublished pieces because we want to be involved as early as possible in the writing process and prepare participants (and their pieces) for publication to the best of our abilities. The goal is to get published, because that’s how it is in the real world.
  3. Workshopped pieces published immediately. Major K-entertainment websites theONESHOTS, Beyond Hallyu, Asia 24/7, and Dinoseoul are all looking for fresh, new content from our workshop pool. For the final stage of the workshop representatives from all our partner websites will look through all pieces and decide which they want to publish -- they also may or may not ask for further revisions before publication. Each site also has the option to hire the authors of the pieces they publish.
  4. An amazing new workshop team. For a more personal workshop experience and further mentorship, discussions within each of the three workshop paths will be facilitated by a veteran writer. Our team of facilitators includes second workshop participant Kay (of Radio Palava and Beyond Hallyu) for expository essays, second and third workshop participant Danice (of Inwardly Fangirling and The ONESHOTS) for personal essays/creative non-fiction, and former core group member Shweta (of A Splash of Inspiration) for reviews. They are some of the best and most prolific in their respective fields and they have all taken part in The K-Pop Writers’ Workshop in the past. Click here to get to know our new team better.
These all support a strengthening of our focus -- preparing pieces for publication and equipping writers with skills for the real world outside the workshop. The K-Pop Writers' Workshop has served as a stepping stone for countless writers -- we’ve helped veterans bounce back by giving them a structured environment conducive to productivity and we’ve also kickstarted careers of talented new writers by providing them with knowledge and opportunities they would have never gotten elsewhere. And we hope to continue that by providing even more options and an even more flexible workshop experience.

One year after our very first workshop, I'm confident that the Fourth K-Pop Writers' Workshop can help even more writers forge their own paths, better.

Workshop Head


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