Friday, January 08, 2010

Announcing WordPlay! Writenet

This blog is heading in a new direction for 2010! Each week, there will be a list of daily writing prompts on the blog and responses can be emailed to

Class Philosophy

There is a proverb from Zimbabwe that says “if you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” I have always believed that homily and taken it one step further: if you can think, you can write. I speak from experience. I was told by a high school English teacher that I would probably never communicate effectively in writing. She made this discouraging pronouncement after I responded to an assignment to describe Harvard Square by writing as an extraterrestrial sociologist sending a report to his home planet. While my cavalier approach to her assignment earned me a failing grade, it liberated my inner writer and allowed her to express herself.
This class is NOT your eighth grade writing class. There are a few rules.
1. There is no wrong way to do it: just write!
2. Keep your hand moving!
3. Have fun!
I am not concerned with spelling or grammar as they can always be fixed later. In this class, your goal is to tell your story. Each person has a story (or two or a million) that only s/he can tell. I cannot unzip your brain and magically read what is there. Once it is on paper, in even the most rudimentary form, then I can help you to improve it.
Charles Barkley, the NBA sportscaster and former player, loves golf. However, he has developed a bad habit of stopping at the top of his stroke that ruins his shot. Stopping and starting as a writer has similar disastrous effects. I used to warn my students that they should write as if “letting the pen stop causes a guillotine to drop that suddenly your hand will chop.” Writing is the process of filling the page with words. If you keep your hand moving, it is a simple process to be successful. It is also a proven strategy to thwart the inner critic whose only function is to sabotage your writing efforts.
Even though your subject matter may arouse deep emotions, the process of putting the words on the pages is liberating.
Your goal should be to write for a minimum of 10 minutes per day. This is not the same as writing for an hour once a week. Writing is like a muscle that is toned through frequent and repetitive usage

If you want to participate as an ongoing class member, please send an email with "Registration" in the subject line and details will be sent to you. However, feel free to consider this a drop-in group where no longterm commitment is required.New assignments will be posted each Monday, starting January 18, 2010.

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