Lawrence Darmani, MAI regional trainer for Africa, has a passion for equipping writers through workshops, mentoring and seminars. This blog post is the last of a series in which he shares ideas and tips from his long experience as a trainer.
As a results-oriented person, I wish I could measure every training session and see writers applying the knowledge gained to their writings. I pray regularly that participants who have spent time, money and energy to attend these MAI workshops will not abandon their skills, but will find enough encouragement in our mentoring to keep up their writings.
Follow-up is key in our training activities. I like to write encouraging letters to participants after every workshop, with one message: Please make time to write, don’t be discouraged by negative forces such as rejection slips or mental blocks, and remember that the Lord has called you to write. Follow-up letters, like Paul’s epistles, are helpful in reviving workshop participants’ enthusiasm to write.
A stronger follow-up approach is my workshop assignments. My desire for results often leads me to create a workshop project. The practical nature of writing demands that we balance workshop lectures with serious workshop writing. I like to involve participants in producing a piece of writing during the workshop and at home afterward.
For example, Stories from Ibadan was a Nigeria workshop writing assignment that led to the publication of that anthology of personal experience narratives. Another example is the Uganda workshop, where participants wrote expository articles on their country’s national anthem, soon to be published. A more recent illustration was a joint project at the writer workshop in South Africa, where participants began writing fiction to compile for publication. These writing projects lead to post-workshop activities that ensure a self-propelled follow-up.
Sometimes, it is necessary to return to a country to conduct a follow-up workshop, either as a follow-up of the previous one or to provide new direction for the group. That is why an intern can return to an organization for another on-the-job training period. Whichever way follow-up is done, it is an important part of the training process.
How have you followed up with writers?
Read Lawrence’s full remarks on writer training here.
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