Two free creative writing MOOC’s are now open for registration at the University of Iowa. The first course, How Writers Write Poetry, begins June 28th. The second course, How Writers Write Fiction, begins September 27th. Both courses run six weeks.
One of the great obstacles in learning to write, compared with most of the arts, is that it’s impossible to observe another writer’s process. You can watch a sculptor sculpt, you can watch a painter paint, you can follow a photographer and observe the composition of endless images, but when it comes to writing it’s all cerebral except for the tap-tap-tapping of keys. After hours you can learn to drink by hanging out with writers, you can learn to do drugs, you can even learn to be a cynical, jaded hater, but when it comes to craft and technique there’s nothing to note except perhaps a preference for hardware or software, as if that ever meant anything.
Whether you’re merely curious about how writers write or you’re worried that you’re doing it wrong, these courses are an invaluable opportunity to check in with people who, somehow, despite the odds, found their way. And as I’ve mentioned before, that’s literally — if not literarily — half the battle.
Spread the word. Enjoy.
— Mark Barrett