Experimenting with a ‘fast paced, fast feedback blog writing workshop’

20 Feb 2019 Mark Uijen de Kleijn Engaging Workshops & Meetings

When we’re together with Co-Learning members and friends we usually have many great ideas and experiences to share. However, for some reason the number of blogs we create was too little in our opinion. And when we’re writing a blog, it takes a lot more time than we thought it would. So, a couple of weeks ago we did an experiment with the goal to write a 80-90% finished blog with some feedback from other people in 1 hour. Afterwards, we dubbed it ‘fast paced, fast feedback blog writing workshop’.

The only prerequisites: most of the content of your subject should be ‘in your head’ (there is no time to read and look things up) and the blog shouldn’t be longer than 1,5 page with regular font.

What did we do? As I facilitated (and joined) the workshop, I asked all participants (4) to put their cell phones in a basket and put that away: we want full focus on the writing and feedback!

·   First, I let the participants write down their subject(s) on post-its and let them ‘pair up’ with a subject of their interest.

·   After a short explanation to their ‘buddy’ & short feedback from that ‘buddy’, all participants wrote down on post-its:

o   First two sentences of the introduction (1 post-it)

o   First sentence of three paragraphs (each on 1 post-it)

·   These were shared with the buddy, who gave high-level feedback.

·   Then, every participant wrote for 10 minutes on their laptop/tablet to finish the whole blog. Prior to the writing, I asked them to create as much content as possible without the need for good sentences and a logical order. Preferably 2 minutes for each paragraph and the introduction.

·   After that, we shared the first version with the buddy, who – without limitations – rewrote the blog (also in 10 minutes) and explained the changes that they made.

·   I intended to have a final 10 minutes for ‘finishing’ the blog, but the 1 hour timebox was over, so we skipped this step.

Feedback from the participants: all participants liked the output they had in that hour. The time pressure and focus made them much more effective than usual. Also, the notion that the story didn’t need to be finished completely and ‘bad sentences’ were allowed made it more productive. It was ‘scary’ to share the first version this early, because usually the content is much better before sharing it with others. Improvements for next time:

·   A little (but not too much) more time for writing the initial version

·   Preparation beforehand to share the first version with your buddy instantly (to not get ‘out of flow’)

·   Review of the results to the whole group, so everybody knows the content that’s created and might be able to help others with finishing.

And now: we all agreed to do this more often, so we can share more of our experiences and knowledge.

And what about the final 10-20% of the blog? I managed to finish it in 25 minutes two days later on a Sunday afternoon. Rearranging some sentences, looking up some references and adding examples. It’s actually here: link.