Posted by Lynne Griffin
Next month--March 24th to be precise--I will be teaching my first writing class at Grub Street. I've been teaching at the graduate level for years, such things as techniques of counseling, group dynamics, effective teaching, curriculum design and writing for publication. But never writing to writers.
I can't wait.
In every writing class I've taken, the instructor uses the equivalent of an icebreaker, in the form of a writing exercise. While I don't mind them in class, I'm not one to use them personally to limber up my synapses or to work out my writer's block. Like sharing work in a writing class, I think their use can be risky. Beginning writers may feel intimidated. Advanced writers annoyed with what could be perceived as a time waster.
So I've decided, and I'd love your opinion on this, to start my workshop off respecting something everybody has and most people like to share. Opinions.
Each time the writers' group meets, before and after we critique pages, we discuss the subtleties of the writing process, and the complexities of the marketplace. Our individual and collective experiences are a tangle of thoughts, feelings, and actions that together shape our personal opinions.
Imagine sitting around a table, in a setting that inspires. With ground rules for respecting everyone's opinion established, and expectations that everyone who'd like to share can share, we'll challenge our thinking.
Here are just a few of the opinions I want to discuss with my students. Feel free to weigh in.
- Excellent writers know exactly how they work and why their process is effective.
- Writing nonfiction and fiction are two completely different experiences; they can't be compared.
- A writer limits the likelihood of success if he or she divides time between writing fiction and nonfiction.
- Agents don't represent writers who choose to write in a different genre once signed for another.
- For the writer with a multifaceted writing identity, the marketplace won't know how to market the writer.