As another year nears its end, the Writers’ Program reflects on how the world, and our program continue evolving. We know this continues to be a difficult time for many, and for others they have experienced personal and professional growth this past year that deserves celebrating. In fact, anyone who made it through this year and engaged with our program in any way, through classes, events, community organizations, social channels, etc. has our gratitude AND a big cheer for making it through this year dedicating ANY amount of time to the writing craft. We greatly appreciate our community and wish everyone a safe, relaxing holiday season.
We wanted to give a brief recap of some major occurrences in the program this year, with a look ahead to some new/changing things for next year. Plus, information on how to access us during the UCLA closure.
2022 saw the most shifts in staffing in the Writers’ Program in many years. Our small team is tight-knit and works exceptionally well (and hard) together, so we’re always sad when folks depart but thrilled when they find new opportunities. We also love welcoming new folks to the team to infuse the staff and program with new energy, ideas, and enthusiasm. Transitions are always challenging and the efforts of our staff this year were unparalleled in ensuring that the focus on our courses, events, and student support experienced little to no disruption in service.
We also sadly lost our longtime creative writing instructor Barbara Abercrombie. With over thirty years of dedication to our program, the ripple effect of her loss is something we’re still feeling. We have instituted a scholarship in her name and are in the process of finalizing how those funds will be used to best support Barbara’s memory.
In brighter news, while the pandemic continues to affect folks to varying degrees and we made many efforts to continue adjusting courses and events for safety, we were able to host both our annual Publication Party and Writing Retreat at Lake Arrowhead in person again this year.
The Publication Party in June celebrated instructors who published work over the past year with readings, a book table, networking, and nibbles. It was also the first time the Writers’ Program staff was able to gather as a team since March of 2020.
The Writing Retreat had been on hiatus since 2020 and came back bigger than ever. For five days, a small group of dedicated writers and storytellers gathered in the peaceful natural setting of Lake Arrowhead to dedicate time to their craft and learn from fellow writers. The 2023 retreat details are currently being finalized and should be available early next year, so start planning for Fall of 2023!
An additional longtime event is returning in person in 2023: the Writers Studio. With new courses, a new location, and a refocus on courses designed to reflect the broad range of writing genres and industry professions. We’ll still have the opening reception, guest speakers in each class, book sale, and nibbles/drinks available each day. If you’ve never been this is a unique opportunity to combine the quality of our courses in an intense conference-like atmosphere, and if you’ve been in the past, we guarantee there are courses available you’ve never taken before. Join us February 23-26 in Los Angeles!
While we’re thrilled to be able to have in person events and classes again, we’re very aware and appreciative of our global student body and the need for offerings that are accessible to an audience much wider than those who can be in Los Angeles.
In addition to online (asynchronous) and remote (Zoom meeting) course offerings, we continue to offer our open houses in a fully virtual format to welcome anyone who is interested in our program. Our next Open House will be on February 7, the day after Sping enrollment opens.
We continue to offer no-cost seminars on craft and professional development each quarter, as well as our podcast The Write Process which is nearing the end of season five. Additionally, if you follow us ion socials (@writersprogram on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) we continue consistent postings of daily writing prompts, motivational quotes, and submission opportunities as well as success stories, instructor happenings, and partner organization events.
And our WP NOW membership program continues to develop and expand offerings in partner organization opportunities, workshops, and the robust online community which now features two instructors each quarter connecting, leading meetings, and providing opportunities to connect in new ways. It also remains the only consistent way of getting a discount on Writers’ Program courses.
As we continue to develop and refine our offerings in these and many other ways, we again want to express our gratitude to the thousands of students who take classes each year, and the numerous others who are part of our community through events, partnerships, socials, and more. The Writers’ Program is a small staff and our commitment to doing our best to serve and grow our community continues to be our main priority – while trying to avoid staff burnout!
As always, the Writers’ Program and UCLA Extension will observe the holiday closure schedule of UCLA. We will officially be closed from Friday, December 22nd through Monday, January 3rd. Winter quarter starts the week of January 9th so thankfully this year we have a bit of cushion between returning from break and starting the term.
UCLA Extension will be open limited hours December 27-29. From 10am-2pm PT a small number of academic and administrative staff will be available for urgent questions and concerns. The Writers’ Program will have one staff member available during these hours on December 27 and 29 ONLY.
The website will be operational and registration available for courses during the entire closure. Any additional questions or concerns submitted via email during the closure period of 12/22-1/2 may not receive full responses until after the closure and will be responded to in order of urgency, prioritizing those with issues related to Winter classes starting the first few days of the term. We appreciate the patience and understanding of students while the entire UCLA Extension staff is on a much needed and deserved break.