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August 15, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

What is the value and purpose of a creative writing class

Here are possible ways that writing classes can develop the skills of a writer. As someone who took creative writing as an undergraduate–this is my opinion:

• Models of greatness (characters, word choice, perspective, themes, patterns, & schemas)
• Mindset and though process (implicit learning). Developing the eyes, ears, and nose of a writer. (metaphorical of course). For instance the iterative process of workshopping can help a great deal in this respect as pointed out by Dwight Hartnett .
• The language of writing & writers
• Overcoming the challenges of writing
• Writing inspirations & writing prompts.
• Being more open as a writer (ie the courage to write & the courage to have it criticized)
• Helping you self-identify as a writer
• Creating a larger body of work
• Perspective of the teacher & perspective of the students. Also, any other voices, feedback, or inspiration the teacher decides to bring into the class.

In short I would suggest, free writing, the process of giving others feedback, sharing and being a community member in a writing community, and getting feedback yourself (ideally by students who are skilled or at least readers as well as by a moderately proficient teacher–aka “expert”). Also, I think the free writing process itself helps with faster thinking and freer thinking when doing brainstorming or other kinds of creative work–actually the feedback process does as well.

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