It Starts with Play: Get (Back) into Writing
with Janée Baugher
Meet me on the page. In this six-week course, we’ll push ourselves creatively, freely playing with words and exploring new ideas. By the end, you will have working drafts of at least five poems, three pieces of flash fiction, or two short essays, as well as dozens of pages of free-writing and lists of ideas for future writing projects.
Designed for people new to creative writing and those looking to return after an extended break, our journey will begin with the first stage of writing, where we use loose associations, word play, experimentation of structure, and improvisation to generate seeds of thoughts that might later grow into poems or prose.
To do this, we’ll first learn from the Surrealists, who sought to free the imagination by focusing on process, as we employ intuition, chance, and surprise into our writing practice. Next, we’ll tackle the blank page with a nod to John Keats’ concept of negative capability whereby we’ll be “capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after facts and reason.”
We’ll make creative use of other art forms, thereby seeing how sight can lead to insight. Finally, we’ll explore modes of imagery, including the bodily senses, and we’ll be encouraged to write across genres, create hybrid works, and collaborate with each other.
Class discussions will revolve around the writing process, the writer’s life, how to best tackle the four stages of writing, and ways to tame the inner critic. In just a few weeks, you’ll blossom from tentative beginner to a creative writer who knows how to command the blank page, as well as methods for finalizing works-in-progress.
Learning and Writing Goals
In this class, you will learn:
- The difference between writing as process and writing as product.
- How other writers use surprise and play in their creative writing and how to emulate that in your own writing.
- Various ways to ignite your own writing.
- How to have a deeper relationship with the mysteries that exist within you and the universe.
- To develop your writerly voice and power.
In this class you will:
- Create working drafts of five poems, three pieces of flash fiction, or two short essays.
- Complete 30 pages of free-writing.
- Develop a list of 40 ideas for future creative writing projects.
- Establish a list of your short-term and long-term writing goals.
Beginning February 14th, we will meet every Wednesday from 7-8 PM Eastern on Zoom.
Week 1 ~ Discovery writing, practice and process
During the first week, we’ll learn about writing-through-discovery and how successful creative writers often write without conscious intent. Writing assignments this week will involve trying numerous generating-idea methods for your future poems and/or prose.
Week 2 ~ Greetings to the white goddess, the deep-image, and the duende
In the second week, we’ll read excerpts from Lorca, Bly, and Graves and discuss their philosophies on writing and creativity. We’ll embrace all three approaches in drafting new work.
Week 3 ~ Artful play and surrealistic innovations
Week three, will concern inspiration gleaned from the arts, as well as learning how the Surrealists collaborated with each other to create cross-genre and hybrid work. This week’s assignment will involve using another art form to inform our writing. Collaboration between classmates is encouraged.
Week 4 ~ Slicing and dicing associations and structures
For our fourth week, we’ll read examples of associative poetry and structure-driven prose, and using these examples as prompts, we’ll generate our own ideas for play-influenced poems, fiction, and nonfiction.
Week 5 ~ Experimental writing with both brain hemispheres
During our penultimate week, we’ll learn how to leap back and forth between the two sides of our psyche to serve all stages of our writing process. Additionally, we’ll dissect our works-in-progress by evaluating opportunities for further imagining, fresh imagery, and word play.
Week 6 ~ Living in mindfulness and mindlessness
In our final week, we’ll explore the writer’s bodily senses through visualization exercises, we’ll share our new pages, and we’ll establish ideas for a life-long practice of writerly flow.
Student Feedback for Janée Baugher:
Entertaining and knowledgeable. KF
She’s the most professional writing teacher I’ve ever met. TZ
Her commitment and genuine care is clear for all to see. JN
In this class, I found a safe place to share poetry, while receiving honest feedback. SJ
I am grateful for the balance of poetic knowledge and instinct with her scientific sensibilities. JA
Her class has a simple elegance to it….It offers something to everyone on the spectrum, whether you’re just a bit curious or a poet in the making. LH