About Our Classes
Class vs. Workshop
Writing Salon classes offer students an opportunity to explore creativity and develop craft. Our classes usually consist of writing exercises, lectures, discussions, readings, and optional sharing of one’s work. In some classes, there is optional out-of-class homework as well as feedback from peers and the instructor. There may be workshops in which the instructor and students discuss student writing, but these workshops are not the class’s central focal point. Enrollment is most often capped at 14. Classes are best suited for writers who would like to generate new work, participate in a writing community, and learn writing skills and strategies.
Writing Salon workshops focus almost exclusively on the development of students’ writing and critiquing skills. With the instructor serving as workshop leader, students spend the majority of class time discussing each other’s work. Commitment level is higher for workshops since students are often expected to work on their own writing and read their classmates’ writing outside of class. To create an intimate environment and to ensure each student receives ample workshopping time, workshops are often capped at 9 or 10 participants. Workshops are best suited for writers who have taken writing classes in the past and who have work that they’d like to develop and revise as well as an interest in offering feedback on classmates’ work.
The Writing Salon has run classes in this format since 1999. In-person classes take place at either our Berkeley or San Francisco location. Most classes are capped at 14 participants. The cap for workshop-style classes ranges from 8-12 participants.
Online – Live Zoom Videoconference
Our most popular online class format, the Zoom videoconference simulates an in-person classroom experience as closely as possible in an online format. To attend classes, you’ll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you’d like, whether on your living room couch or in your office.
Online – Daily Write Round Robin
When Jane Underwood, founder of The Writing Salon, started the Daily Write Round Robin, she created not just a writing course but a vibrant community, one that has continued and grown for well over a decade. In this course, participants receive daily writing prompts from facilitator Kathy Garlick and engage in partner exchanges via email. Writers in all genres and at all levels of experience take this class. All participants are expected to commit to the class for 20-30 minutes each day. The class is offered multiple times throughout the year in a 3-week, 6-week, and 8-week format.
Online – Wet Ink Workshops
Our Wet Ink workshops are designed to bring the intimacy and support of a classroom workshop into the online sphere. The focus will be on giving and receiving peer feedback while the instructor guides, facilitates, and offers feedback of her own. Each course uses the online platform Wet Ink, which allows for clear, targeted commentary on submissions. Online workshops do not have scheduled meeting times, affording participants the opportunity to complete coursework according to their own schedule. Class sizes are limited to 10 participants.
Online – Mentorships
Our newest “class” format, the mentorship offers a unique opportunity for personal and intimate instruction. Students will work with a mentor one-on-one, via written correspondence over nine weeks, during which students will compile and send one “packet” every three weeks. The packet will consist of creative and critical work and a letter to the mentor. The mentorship is best suited for intermediate level writers and above. Each mentor typically takes on 3-5 mentees.
It’s our intention that these guidelines will help build a close-knit community in our classes and lead to a positive learning experience for all students.
Engaging in Our Community
The Writing Salon is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all students regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, appearance, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or class. Please be considerate and respectful as you engage with your instructor and other participants.
Participating in a Creative Writing Classroom
A creative writing classroom is a dynamic setting consisting of students with different backgrounds, learning styles, and writing experiences. This pluralistic environment will help you grow as a writer and thinker. At times, you will be exposed to controversial and unfamiliar language as part of the creative process and sharing of work. We invite you to remain open-minded as you encounter diverse approaches to the craft and study of writing.
Communicating with Your Instructor
Your instructor is your main point of contact throughout the duration of your course. Please email your instructor should you have any questions, concerns, or feedback. If you have any special requests or desire certain accommodations, let your instructor know prior to the beginning of a class meeting.
Giving and Receiving Feedback
The Writing Salon is here to help you build confidence as a writer and a reader. When you offer feedback on classmates’ work, be as constructive and specific as possible. Focus on the work itself, not the writer. When you receive feedback, you might feel resistance. This is a natural part of the process. Stay open to feedback. Later you’ll determine what you wish to draw upon as you refine your work.
Zoom Guide for Students
The Writing Salon requests that you come to class prepared to manage your own Zoom experience. Please download the document below to ensure that you’re ready for the online experience in your class.
We strongly encourage you to use a computer to attend class, but participation is still possible via a phone or tablet. You should have basic competency over the main Zoom controls, particularly the mute/unmute and video on/off functions.
Consider your setting while you attend class. If you are in a busy place, if there are children in the area, or if there’s anything in your environment that might impact other students’ ability to focus during class, we ask that you turn your video off and/or to make sure your audio is muted. If necessary, you’re welcome to use headphones or earbuds for audio.
Special Requests or Accommodations
If you have any special class requests or accommodations, aim to email your instructor prior to a class session. While some instructors do make use of the chat function, it can be challenging for them to respond to specific requests and navigate teaching the class at the same time.
Writing Salon workshops focus almost exclusively on the development of students’ writing and critiquing skills. With the instructor serving as workshop leader, students spend the majority of class time discussing and critiquing each other’s work.
FAQ About Classes
Writing Salon classes are for writers 18 years old and up.
Yes! We welcome writers at all levels of experience. We’ll help you unlock your creativity and get started. All you’ll need is a desire to write and learn. Many beginning writers have gone on to take a number of classes at The Writing Salon and have built up confidence in their writing and overall communication skills.
We have no hard and fast rules regarding which classes to take or in which order to take them. We suggest picking the class that makes the most sense to you, based on your own writing goals and experience. If you can’t decide, narrow your options down to three or four. Then send us an email or give us a call.
Most of our classes are for writers of all levels of experience. Only a very few are designed solely for introductory, intermediate, and advanced writers. We like providing an opportunity for writers of all backgrounds and skill levels to learn in a single setting. We also want to help you grow, so if you want to challenge yourself more, we recommend looking into the classes that are intermediate or advanced. Likewise, if you’d like to be in a community in which your class members are all getting started as writers, sign up for our introductory offerings.