Any suggestions from veterans on how to get through those situations when you have to work/ collaborate (in workshops) with peers you may not have perfect chemistry with?
I have never been in an MFA workshop, but I've taken 6 semester-long undergraduate CW workshops, so take what you can from this if you think they're similar enough. I've found that my attitude towards the 12-15 people in my workshops went up and down throughout the semester, and so did their attitudes towards me. The members of a workshop are continually changing their impressions of each other's work and personalities, as well as the way they treat or receive each other, as well as the quality of their comments on manuscripts. Over time I just learned to "go with the flow."
Lately I've been thinking workshop critiques should be anonymous. This sem I'm taking my first course in journalism, all previous courses being in poetry and fiction, and the prof wants all critiques to be anonymous. And during the first workshop the quality of critiques was so high: people diving right in to what they wanted to say, people speaking concisely, people addressing the issue with civility and specificity. It was a very low-strung discussion, like all the emotional baggage went out the window because there was no person attached to the manuscript. I was one of the four being critiqued, and everything classmates said made sense to me and didn't make me feel bad at all... an experience I've never had till now!
What do people think of anonymous workshops? And, of course, l.'s question of how to deal with workshop partners you don't have chemistry with--in an MFA setting?