Hello Hoffman Community! We’re writing to close the loop – to tell you what we heard during our summer consultations about the writing program and the subsequent online survey that some of you completed. We’d like to particularly thank those who provided detailed write-in comments during the survey, which added a layer of richness to the information we received.
The most in-demand events include:
- Writing workshops (whether intensive one-off or multi-week format, both equally desired)
- Readings by and book launches for authors with local ties, or books on Northwest topics
- Regular opportunities to write together in community
- Monthly or quarterly opportunities to write to a prompt and submit for shared posting on the Hoffman site. Check out our new Community Writes program.
The most in-demand topics were:
- Specific craft topics (dialogue, character, etc.)
- Short form “flash” fiction or nonfiction
- Memoir or life stories
- Editing and revision
81% of survey respondents say they are fairly or very comfortable using online platforms – this was very good news given that we’re likely to be limited for in-person gatherings for some time to come.
71% of respondents are willing to try new platforms to upload writing work and comment on others’ work. We’re launching a new poetry class in January on just such a platform.
Technology Supports Community
We heard how important the Hoffman Center is to the support of building and sustaining community. We were delighted that responses showed our use of online platforms like Zoom has been less of a barrier than some feared. It, in fact, has already allowed broader participation including from people with connections to the North Coast who are not resident here year-round. We are committed to sustaining this greater reach even when the current public health crisis subsides and we are able to gather together in person at the Center and in the Wonder Garden.
Programming for Readers
We had a few write-in suggestions that focused on reading. Our planning team celebrates the desire of people in our community to explore widely, including (as was suggested) the works of authors from different cultural backgrounds. Several of our 2021 plans include authors with both global reach or identity and connections to the Northwest.
And while we do believe there is always room for book clubs, study groups, and other volunteer-led opportunities to read together, the writing program team does not have the capacity to add reading-focused initiatives to our offerings. We encourage community members interested in creating these groups to step up. We will mention this interest to staff at the North Tillamook Branch Library here in Manzanita in the hopes that they might provide guidance for creating book clubs and study groups.
Finally, several write-in comments mentioned activities that are not centered on writing but are related to those provided by our Visual Arts program (sketching, drawing, scrapbooking, using digital programs like AutoBook SketchBook Pro or Procreate). We’ll pass on those suggestions to the team that runs Visual Arts programming at the Hoffman. We know that team is working hard to develop online courses on some of those topics already.
Thanks again for your feedback. We always welcome new ideas–especially if individuals are willing to step up to make them happen, as is the case with the new Community Writes project. Contact us if you have other ideas you’d like to champion, or if you would like to join our planning/management team as a volunteer.