First time here? Consider this your introduction.
We’re Jill Margo and Andrew Templeton. GOOD is our passion project. We founded it together, but we’re also partner-partners, not just business partners. You can learn more about us and the space on our About page.
GOOD began as an experiment in January 2017. After the first six months, we took what we had learned, closed for the summer, and began more clearly defining who we are, who we serve, and most importantly, why we do what we do.
The short version is that GOOD is a member-based workshop studio for writers and other independent creative workers who want to do good work + live good lives. We include ourselves in that, which means that GOOD is also a peer-to-peer space.
We honour that you have a big, full life and that you’re making an investment when you come to GOOD. That’s why we’ve made a space that is as beautiful and nurturing as possible.
GOOD is a safe space that's designed to encourage each of us to have an honest relationship with our creative work and to reduce the barriers that might get in the way of our success. It's also a non-competitive, snobbery-free environment. We thrive on a spirit of generosity, as well as shared intellect and energy.
GOOD is also a calm and cheerful place to break bread (there is always tea and treats) and enjoy the company and conversation of others. You are cherished here for your life experiences and invited to come exactly as you are, though we hope you might leave feeling even a little bit better.
The longer version means that we have to introduce you to our two new departments.
The Dept. for Writers offers intensives, one-day workshops, and four to six-week classes—with guest facilitators—for between six and eleven participants who are practicing writers—emerging and established (not raw beginners).
There are many traditional critique-based creative writing workshops out there for learning craft but they often exclude the wider, real world context that writers exist in—particularly in terms of their overall practice and lifelong learning. Once a person has taken a few of these workshops—or even a BFA or MFA program—there aren’t a lot of options left for their ongoing professional development.
Our goal is to remedy that.
While practice can be defined as the application of what you’ve learned of your craft, we see it as something deeper, richer, and more sustaining. It’s about the concrete steps you take to ensure there’s balance between your life and your writing. It’s what you do to remain continually engaged and energized by your work and plugged into the cultural life around you. It’s what you do to ensure you’re always looking for renewal. By providing you with structure, practice is the thing that stops you from getting lost and guides you back to centre. It’s not fixed and it’s something that must be adjusted and updated to match your current life, no matter where you are in your endeavour.
So, when building our programming, we asked our facilitators to design offerings with these things in mind. We also asked them to focus on the things that light them up and may contain insights into their own working practices. The results they came back to us with are thrilling takes on both the craft and practice of writing. Many of the offerings are open to a variety of genres and embrace hybridity. They are non-prescriptive and exercises can often be customized to a participant’s present writing interests and concerns. They also each have a clear outcome—whether that’s a draft of new writing, a statement of purpose, or a work edited with a new lens.
The Dept. of Writers is for you if you
identify with any of these things:
- You’ve taken traditional creative writing workshops—maybe you’re even a BFA or MFA graduate—and you’re wondering, ‘Now what?’;
- You’re an emerging writer who wants to clarify and strengthen your practice;
- You’re an established writer who wants to reinvigorate your practice or work in another genre;
- You’re stuck and you want to unstuck;
- You’re lonely in your literary pursuits and want to feel more connected;
- You want to be in a healthy relationship with your writing;
- You want your writing to have a sense of renewal and freshness;
- You’re bright, curious-minded, and like a good experiment because, as Heidi Taylor says, “Art works like science: we do something, we change the parameters, we do it again and see if the results are different”;
- Most of all, you’re generous-spirited, sensitive, and open to the mystery of art.
The Dept. for Independent Creative Workers offers retreats, classes, and co-working sessions for between six and eleven participants, as well as one-on-one creative consults, to writers and other kinds of artists who are devoted to a creative practice, around which they structure their lives.
Our goal is to dismantle romantic stereotypes about what it means to be an artist and what artistic practice looks like. Artists, understandably, want to make art. But if we hold onto the idea of artistic purity and focus only on the creation of the work, thinking that everything else is a distraction or a nuisance, yet still hoping that someone will notice us and save us, then we’re harming ourselves. We believe that as independent creative workers we need to synthesize artistry with practicality. We need to build productive practices, clarify our missions, cultivate opportunities, and approach our work with an entrepreneurial spirit.
We also understand that the term “business” can be off-putting and that it doesn’t quite fit, since we are propelled by a calling, rather than a money-driven career. This shouldn’t discourage us, however, from professionalizing as independent creative workers and to view our practice as consisting of both creation and endeavour.
We define endeavour as everything that sits outside the actual process of creation. It’s the part of your overall practice that helps you cultivate opportunities and connections that help you thrive. It’s fair to say that endeavour is, ultimately, about making sure you get the job done so that your work gets out into the world, in other words: connecting you to your audience, whatever audience means for you.
So we create offerings to help you explore questions such as what do I do, why do I do it, and who do I do it for? They can take the form of a class based on marketing and branding that demonstrates how those things can be an extension of your practice, or a retreat that’s designed to help you start a new creative project with a well thought out plan, or co-working sessions that are meant to help you finish what you start. These are the offerings we wish had been available to us earlier in our own endeavours when it would’ve helped us be better artists.
The Dept. of Independent Creative Workers is for you
if you identify with any of these things:
- You want to professionalize your practice;
- You want to recommit to your practice;
- You want to build your own tiny, mighty empire;
- You want to learn how to self-promote in a way that doesn’t feel icky;
- You want to better understand your artistic practice in the context of your whole life;
- You’re not interested in romantic stereotypes of the artist toiling away in obscurity;
- You want to be a non-starving artist;
- You want to connect with your audience;
- You want to be organized and productive;
- You want a sense of accountability;
- You want to finish what you start;
- You want to begin a new creative project;
- You want to take your practice to the new level;
- You need resources to be more professional;
- You want to make more room in your life for your practice;
- You’re willing to consider that there’s a way for you to do marketing and branding that feels authentic and is an extension of your practice;
- You want to get better in areas that you don’t think you’re good at, like self-promotion;
- You want a better understanding of your audience;
- You want to be better able to support your practice;
- You’re generous-spirited, sensitive, and open to the mystery of art…and you also want to be canny, determined and aware.
Other things you need to know about GOOD
We also host events designed to nurture the community that gather in our space. For instance, every season (except summer) we host an open studio + social. They’re simple, friendly rituals that always involve cake. If you're new to Good, they also offer a chance to see the space and meet our community.
We have four membership levels. Basic membership is only $10. Even if you only attend one event, it’ll be worth it. The three other membership levels each come with perks. You don't need to attend an event to get in on the Goodness either. You can support us and help folks on a tight budget attend GOOD events by purchasing a Patron Membership. You can become a member by applying here.
Thanks so much for stopping by. We can’t wait to meet you in person. If you ever have any questions or want to say hi, please don’t hesitate to drop us a note.