In this three-week online course, we’ll focus on how to move through the difficult moments in our writing process. Designed for writers at all levels, we’ll discuss the many forms of getting stuck. Is it that we can’t start? Or can’t finish? Or don’t know what comes next in the narrative we’re writing?
Through fun writing exercises, short lectures, and readings about the process of writing, this course aims to give you tools to help you improve your relationship to your practice. We’ll discuss practical tips for you to use in your day-to-day life, and we’ll also ask ourselves some very basic questions about why we started writing in the first place, and how that corresponds with our feelings on writing now. Are we enjoying ourselves? Do we feel a sense of playfulness around writing? When we write, what are we getting out of it?
Each class will include one generative writing prompt. The first two will be about finding joy and momentum and will be discussed in terms of process, rather than critically, meaning I won't be giving you detailed notes on those. The last prompt will ask you to begin or continue whatever it is you've been stuck on. For that one, I will provide critical feedback. By the end of this course, my hope is that you’ll have a renewed sense of energy around your writing practice and will be better equipped to move through the tough moments with ease. I’ll be specifically asking you to tackle that one thing you’ve been putting off. In so doing, I expect you to end this course with a clear sense of your particular writing goals and how to meet them.
- Readings about the practice of writing that offer general wisdom as well as day-to-day tools.
- Generative writing exercises that allow you to let loose and have fun.
- Written lectures and instructor-led discussions that honestly explore the concept of being stuck.
- Two generative writing prompts (300-500 words) and one writing assignment (under 3,000 words)
- Read weekly reading assignments thoroughly and be ready to discuss
- Participation in weekly salon chats (Wednesdays, 8:30-10 p.m. ET/5:30-7 p.m. PT)
Week 1 – Introductions. Discussion about the concept of being stuck. Readings, writing exercises.
Week 2 – Practical tools. Readings, writing exercises.
Week 3 – Having fun. Readings, writing exercises.
Swan Huntley is the author of The Goddesses (2017) and We Could Be Beautiful (2016). She earned her MFA at Columbia University and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ragdale Foundation. Her writings have appeared on Salon, The Rumpus and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among others. She lives in California and Hawaii. Photo by Cindy Lin.
“An addictive fictional saga in which a jilted wife goes to the mat to save her marriage and her morale.”
“As in her first book, Huntley is a keen social observer, empathetic and biting at once… [A] gripping psychological portrait of a woman at a personal crossroads. A haunting story of betrayal and forgiveness that packs an unexpectedly emotional punch.”
"Huntley is adept at deploying Catherine's good fortune as a fulcrum of suspense... Huntley deftly establishes Catherine's tendency to rationalize and repress... Lively... Huntley writes with wit and verve, excelling at economically hilarious descriptions... The book's strengths lie... in the zippy social satire, in the portrait of a dysfunctional family (Catherine's relationship with her sister turns out to be especially affecting) and, most of all, in Catherine's voice—strange and funny and engaging to the very end."