(cc) by Nina Matthews Photography (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21560098@N06/)
under Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Over a year ago, one of my partners pointed me to Cunning Minx’s post at Poly Weekly about writing a personal user’s manual. We both wrote our own manuals, read each other’s manuals, talked about what we had written, shared with our friends and found the exercise fun, useful and productive both in terms of making communication easier between us, but also in terms of our level of self-awareness and understanding our own needs and desires.

Inspired by Minx’s work, and after a year of tweaking and refining, I’m thrilled to announce that “Writing Your Personal User’s Manual” will be one of the first workshops offered by Writing in the Margins!

Although it was inspired by a poly podcast and I first used it in a poly context, it is an exercise that works for anyone in a relationship, particularly for those of us in relationships that exist in the margins – queer, kinky, poly, swinging, asexual, etc. – and for those of us who have experienced trauma that makes relationships challenging to navigate.

Understanding our needs, understanding that it is okay to have those needs, and learning how to communicate those needs is an important skill but one that can be challenging to master. This two-day workshop will guide you through the process of articulating your needs and desires within a relationship – whether you are currently in a relationship or not! – and you will finish the workshop with a document that you can either use for your own self-awareness or to help your partner(s), both new and old, understand you better.

This is also an ideal workshop for creative writers who struggle with understanding their character’s motivations, needs and desires in relationships. The “user’s manual” can provide you with rich background information that will allow your character to be more well-rounded, with more believable motivations, and will give you solid information about how to handle interactions between your character and their partners, family and friends.

This workshop is being offered September 7 (6:30-9 pm) & 8 (10 am – 2 pm) at Mount Royal. You can register by phone (403-701-1489) or email (tiffany @ writinginthemargins.ca). The cost is $90 and can be paid by cash or cheque on or before September 7. Space is limited, so register soon!

Writing Your Personal User’s Manual workshop details:

Two back-to-back half-day sessions (Friday evening & Saturday), limited to 12 participants, $90

This two-day workshop guides participants through the process of writing a personal user’s manual. This is a document that can be given to a partner (romantic, sexual, or platonic) to help introduce them to the awesome uniqueness of You.

We will explore issues of personal history, relationship non-negotiables, desires, needs and best practices for interaction. Whether you share the user’s manual with your partners or not, the process of writing it is an excellent opportunity to better understand your own needs and desires in relationships. This is a queer-friendly and gender-inclusive workshop, and is also asexual and poly-friendly. We often don’t think about what we want and how to ask for it – this is a chance to get to know yourself better, so that you can more successfully get what you need from your relationships.

This is also an ideal workshop for creative writers who hope to flesh out a character’s relationship style, history and needs.