Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Response To a Prior Comment - Creative Writing and Professional Writing

I posted recently issues about the huge differences between academia and professional writing. I have also noted that I am more than happy to visit with those creative writing classes in academia. I received a comment that pretty much said I would never be invited into those hallowed halls. The funny part is that I have already been there and students are very much appreciative of that information I provide.

I have had the chance to reach creative writing at the collegiate level. When I teach these classes, the students are more than eager to learn about the REALITY of professional writing. These students are not stupid. They understand that their professors, more often than not, are published simply because of their PhD status and their university connections. They know the odds are against them in this situation and want to know how to make it in this business of publishing without having to "grade papers."

Now don't get me wrong. I am not arguing for giving up your daily job. No way! But I am pushing for promotion of how to make it "in the real world."

The person who commented made a comment about how the effort in academia was on the quality of the writing. "Your workshop style and message may not be preferred in the hallowed halls of academia. My experience with University Creative Writing classes is that the focus is on the art and not the audience."  Please don't get me wrong. I want quality writing. I am sick of reading submissions that are far from quality. But, as someone with 20 years of teaching experience, I also realize that those of us in academia often forget reality.

I would strongly encourage those of you in creative writing to reconsider a few things. We can teach great writing, but if we want to teach how to write professionally, it requires bringing in reality!


1 comment:

  1. Oops, comments posted may be misconstrued or incomplete. The art and audience comment was because you stated you want to do more college courses and I think that's great.

    I attended one of your workshops with a roomful for writers who want that commercial, real world, career. At the same time I was also a writing student in academia after 20 years in the corporate america and 10 as an RWA member.

    As a "student" I was reprimanded for suggesting that creative writers consider their audience prior to perfecting a piece for submission. For two years I watched for any (outside of RWA) workshops and courses for commercial writers sponsored through the college.

    Inside RWA, the workshop attendees after your presentation were divided as to your message as how to choose the audience (editor/agent/publisher) for their work. Some thought it was great to target a specific editor, others thought it was a waste of years and time as that editor would move on.

    All that said, your real world experience and credentials would be a huge bonus to writers who only have academia as a resource. But I feel you will need to rethink how you market your message sort of like, "Bringing the art of writing to the audience" (super cheezy but you get the idea) to get more opportunities within academia.

    So I didn't mean you'd never teach in the hallowed halls but should have completed the thought with:

    To promote your message in the real world of academia you may want to rethink how you market your message to the audience you are targeting.