When I first went back to graduate school in creative writing, after a lifetime in the publishing ‘hood, I told my friends that if they ever heard me use “workshop” as a verb, they should shoot me.
But now, with one foot in the academic world and the other in the muck of teaching creative writing, I think the writers’ workshop is an appropriate model for academics who want to make their manuscripts better. Creative writers have been “workshopping” each other’s stuff for a long time. The workshop model can lead to tears, to bruised egos, and, occasionally, to black eyes. But the right group can produce better work.