Outside Experience

The Rainier Writing Workshop features a distinguishing “Outside Experience.” In his or her second year in the program, each participant engages in an independent project that is intended to enhance the participant’s regular course of study in the program.

“My expectations are exceeded left and right.”

The project can touch upon a number of objectives: to explore ways of strengthening the participant’s writing skills and writing practice; to explore broader aspects of the writing life, including publishing and professional opportunities; to do research for a specific writing project; to contribute to the cultural and literary life of his or her community. Each participant designs his or her experience, with the support and oversight of the program. In the past, RWW participants have done the following for their Outside Experiences:

Residencies and participation at The Vermont Studio Center, The Anderson Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum, Soapstone, Montana Artists’ Refuge, the Kachemak Bay Conference, the Sitka Symposium, Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Fishtrap, an NEH Summer Seminar, the Jack Straw Writers’ Program, and various regional arts centers.

Travel to innumerable locales, including England, Japan, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Laos, Bali, Hawaii, Nicaragua, Antarctica, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas. These travels involved doing research and interviews for specific projects, including novels and memoirs; participating in immersion programs, such as surfing, meditation, and language-learning intensives.

Led local writing workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction; designed courses for the Attic Institute; developed courses at the college and high school levels; worked as writers in the schools; taught writing in a prison in Mexico; founded local reading/open mic series; organized a Latino Literary Festival; organized a city-wide book fair; attended the annual AWP conference.

Additional projects include: internships with national and regional presses; created an eBook publishing company; edited anthologies; collaborated with artists for multi-media projects; wrote for radio; worked in a shipyard; worked with Nisqually tribal elders; did a sixteen-day solo wilderness retreat; visited art museums all over the country to see the work of painter Joan Mitchell.

The Rainier Writing Workshop has special affiliations with The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, and The Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota. The program can arrange residencies at these centers for interested participants. Through the Deborah Tall Scholarship Fund, the program also occasionally provides partial funding for participants who might have substantial costs associated with their Outside Experiences.