Course Code: wc1
What is creativity? What's a writer's voice? Can writers be taught to write or is it a gift that only a few possess? This lesson will talk about the nature of creativity and about self-discipline. You'll learn about your writer's voice and hear from other writers. Then, you'll begin to express your creativity.
Tenacity is the focus of this lesson and you'll be a whiz at focusing your writing voice once you've worked through this information. You'll also learn why creativity is recess for the brain. But even though it's the ultimate fun experience, to produce writing, it needs to be managed play. Are you ready to play with words? Jump right in!
What are your fears? For many emerging and successful writers, there's a fear of beginning, of failure, of failing your muse. This lesson walks you through the gate of failure and will get you started as a professional writer. The best way to get over the fear of starting is to do just that: Start. Many writing instructors believe that creative people must simply show up at the page. That means getting to your creative project and putting down words. Ready to start?
Do you know your reader? Most new writers say, "Hey, of course I do!" But how well do you know your reader? If you're at all vague about this, there may come a time when you'll be frustrated and feel rejected by editors and agents and the audience you wish to attract. Writers need to know their readers thoroughly in order to write so that readers understand the message. That's the focus of this lesson and it may be your biggest a-ha moment of the course.
Some people—especially those who aren't writers—believe that creative writing refers only to fiction, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, or both, you'll always use your creative muscles to stay agile and strong as a writer. As experienced writers know, both types of writing take skill, tenacity, and powerful imaginations, and this lesson will go over some of the genres in both fields. The objective of this lesson is to familiarize you with the many creative writing opportunities that are available.
Imagine that you've just purchased the latest market guide, filled with guidelines for submissions to publishers and magazine editors. The book is awesome! Looking at it, you understand how a child feels who has eaten too much cotton candy and hopped on a merry-go-round. Market guides can be overwhelming and exciting. There's so much potential. Where to start? How do you find the right magazine or publisher for a project? How can you know when it is the right one? These are just a few of the questions that you may ask. By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to navigate through it. But wait, there's more! You'll also learn about one of the most powerful brainstorming and writing tool around. It's called the bubble method and it's fun, fast, and effective.
For most writers, the idea of using correct grammar and punctuation is a necessary evil. In this lesson, you'll get a clear concept of the grammar and production requirements for creating marketable writing. Since self-editing is an essential ingredient to produce good writing, the lesson will also focus on that as well. Most writers have a difficult time editing their work, but once you finish reading this lesson, you'll be well on your way to putting polish on your words.
Sorry to break the news, but even professional writers haven't found out how to squeeze 26 hours into every day. Thankfully, there are ways to manage the ordinary 24 that could help you. That's what you'll explore in this lesson on time management for creative writers. By the end, you'll know how to use non-writing time to create ideas and properly manage the time that's available to write.
In this lesson, you'll learn about overcoming obstacles that may be stopping you from writing. One obstacle, called writer's block, can be remedied once you know about the ailment. Alternatively, writer's block can stop you cold in your tracks, never to write again. In this lesson, you'll continue to build confidence as you realize that all writers have fears, including fear of what is lurking inside a creative mind, and what might happen when it comes out in writing.
Names and titles convey information, so the title of your story, novel, nonfiction book, or article is also important. It can pique your readers' interest and generate excitement, or do the opposite. Titles can't be copyrighted, so you could call your book on dust storms in Death Valley Gone with the Wind and not fear copyright infringement. However, doing so could lessen the impact of your work. Lesson 10 will focus on that topic and also talk more about writing essays.
Now is the time to ask yourself whether you actually like your own writing. No one is listening, so forget about false modesty. If writers are honest, they'll usually say they like their own writing. Some people adore most of what they write—including the secret scratchings in their journals. It's healthy to say that you like your work; that doesn't mean that you can't strive to improve it—that's what drafts are all about. It means that at a certain point in time, like this second, the writing is as good as it can get—for now. Over time, you'll always find new ways to improve it. In this lesson, you'll delve into a variety of ways to evaluate your own work. Plus, you'll learn everything you need to know about having a successful experience at your first (or next) writer's conference.
Everyone has dream smashers in their lives. Those are the people who pride themselves in saying, "You've got to be mature. You could never do this or that." In this lesson, you'll look at how to overcome the power of doubters. You'll learn how to treat yourself like a professional writer, even if you're still an emerging one. You'll discover why it's smart to buy the books and magazines you need, take writing classes, and attend workshops. Writing is all about you, and you have the power to succeed!
Eva Shaw, Ph.D. is a full-time working writer. She has authored thousands of articles, essays, and short stories and more than 70 books including "Writing the Nonfiction Book" and "Insider's Guide to San Diego." Her work has been featured in USA Today, San Diego Union Tribune, Publisher's Weekly, and others. She has won several awards, including the Book of the Year Award from the American Journal of Nursing, the Benjamin Franklin Award, and the Woman of Merit Award.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: You can start this course at any time your schedule permits.
Instructor-Led: Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Self-Paced: You have three-month access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period.
Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons before your three-month access.
Instructor-Led: The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.
Eva, while reading Lesson 12 I began sobbing. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for your love of the written word and how you use it to connect, teach and inspire."
Eva, your assignments are wonderful instruments for helping us down the path of becoming better writers, better people. Keep it up. Thanks!"
Eva, your class has been a turning point for me. Thank you for your lessons and encouragement. I've gone from saying "I want to be a writer" to "I AM a writer." I hope to take another of your classes sometime soon, possibly magazine writing. Thanks again!"
I have thoroughly enjoyed this class and will implement many of the lessons learned to further my writing. It has been a pleasure to meet and interact with so many talented, creative writers and I just want to extend my thanks to Eva for her positive encouragement. I will miss you all."
I never let anyone read my writing before because of a negative experience in college. An instructor told me flat out "you just cannot write" and it haunted me for a long time. Fast forward a million years...the last six weeks has opened a new world for me. The positive feedback from all of you unlocked a door that should have never been closed. For this I am grateful."
I took this course to tighten up on my writing with better use of language, research and editing. Eva was excellent from the first assignment and I was able to learn some important techniques for my craft. I wish I could bottle her. Thanks so much, Eva. I feel that I have grown so much."
I submitted my work from this course to a local contest and I won! I'm pretty proud of myself, but moreover I want to thank Eva for not only her support, but everything down to offering this class, caring about it, encouraging us, providing us such fantastic stepping stones, and being, in general, awesome."
Two days ago I was offered to write a monthly column for our newspapers family page. I am thrilled to be able to write on a consistent basis for a publication. And I owe some of this to you, Eva. If you hadn't made the comment that a previous assignment from the descriptive settings course would make a good newspaper article, I would never have submitted it for publication. Thanks!"
Over the last five months, I have taken four of the six courses taught by Eva. I just began "Write Your Own Story" this week and I plan to sign up for Writeriffic II next month. Before taking these courses, I had a story rolling around my head for years, actually several stories. I never believed I was capable of actually writing these stories and the thought of pursuing a published piece was unthinkable. Eva's classes have challenged me to face the fears, and begin to create on paper something I have only dreamed of doing. I have discovered more about myself in these last five months than I have in six years of education to become a therapist. Which class to take first? Whichever one jumps out at you first. Each class has invaluable information, challenging assignments, tips, inspiration, and a clear path to guide writers to their goals."
If I have grown it is because of you and your course. This is the most amazing, touching and practical (all at the same time) course I have ever had in writing -- maybe that I have ever had. Have to admit I've not taken many courses in creative writing, nonetheless, this course and your approach, have truly changed my thinking about whether or not I could publish what I write. I thank you, Eva, and I will be a familiar name in your other courses."