Andromeda: Some results of our 2011 Planning Survey

Over 100 of you took our survey and we received many, many helpful comments. Thank you for your time, your interest, and your continuing support of 49 Writers and the 49 Alaska Writing Center.

Some interesting results…

Respondents span the “experience levels” — a third identify themselves as beginning writers, a third as intermediate, and a third as advanced/professional. Among our respondents there are also many teachers, booksellers, and publishers. Three-quarters are regular readers of the blog. A third have taken a writing class from us — and of those, nearly all will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ take a writing class again.

While two-thirds hail from Anchorage, a third hail from other parts of Alaska.

We were interested to hear that prospective class-takers respond equally to fiction or nonfiction offerings. Short, sample classes appeal slightly more than longer ones.

Of all of our offerings and activities, what do respondents value most? Literary events, the blog, creative writing classes in Anchorage, and providing a physical gathering place for writers — in that order, with other priorities following very closely behind (see below) and only three of the fifteen priorities ranked less than “somewhat important.”

Many respondents would like to see more classes and events in smaller communities in Alaska, while many also acknowledged the danger of spreading ourselves too thin, especially in the beginning. But optimism prevails. Comments included ‘You’re doing great!’, ‘Keep up the good work,’ ‘Keep plugging away and feed the hungry minds out there,’ and 49 writers, the blog and sponsored events are an ‘antidote to the isolation that so often characterizes the writing life. Many thanks!’

Here’s how respondents rank writing center programs and activities (including ones we currently offer as well as ones beyond our current programming):

Rating of 1= not at all important
Rating of 2= only a little important
Rating of 3= somewhat important
Rating of 4= very important

1. Literary events, including discussions = rating average 3.66
2. Online community (the blog) = 3.64
3. Creative writing classes in Anchorage = 3.58
4. Providing a physical gathering place for writers = 3.39
5. Creative writing classes outside of Anchorage = 3.33
6. Mentoring, including e-mentoring = 3.28
7. Writing retreat (like our Tutka Bay retreat) = 3.28
8. Youth programs = 3.12
9. Recruitment of Outside authors to visit Alaska = 3.09
10. Outreach to underserved populations = 3.08
11. Networking with national literary organizations = 3.03
12. Supporting and promoting other literary organizations’ activities = 3.00
13. Distance education (online) classes = 2.99
14. Development of a facility to serve multiple literary organizations = 2.79
15. Providing office/work space for writers = 2.34

Thanks again and please remember that we appreciate receiving feedback at any time.

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