Monday, October 16, 2023

Online Course in Mindful Writing, January-May 2024


I'll be teaching a HyFlex graduate course on Mindful Writing, January-May 2024 at Salem State University. This course meets on Thursdays, 4:30-6:50 pm online and in-person.

Below you'll find a description of the course and info on how to register as a student outside of Salem State University.


ENG 835

This course addresses a fundamental flaw in most people’s writing education: how school has trained us to overlook the present moment when we write in favor of dwelling on a future outcome with a future reader or a past outcome with a past reader. Traditional education has taught us to be mindless (to overlook the present) when we write, and the problem is that the majority of writing difficulties can be attributed to mindlessness.

Ignoring the present, we tend to think of judgmental readers from the past or future, and this blocks us from writing freely and with a focused mind. Ignoring the present, we expect automatic perfection from pieces of writing we haven’t even had time to draft. Ignoring the present means falling under the sway of our monkey minds, believing storylines we tell ourselves about our potential. Finally, ignoring the present means denying ourselves access to a set of powerful resources for our writing—rhetorical factors that are only visible when the present moment is visible.

ENG 835 offers theoretical grounding and frequent hands-on practice with mindfulness techniques and present-based rhetorical tools. It offers an in-depth mindful exploration of issues of originality, creativity, motivation, community, and resilience geared for students considering careers as creative and academic writers. A present-moment focused writing practice leads to short- and long-term benefits for use in graduate school and beyond. Course concepts include detachment, impermanence, verbal emptiness, preconceptions, ego, embodiment, interbeing, intertextuality, self-care for writers, and audience proximity.


Through mindful awareness, we delve into process strategies to write on a daily basis; motivation when no longer in school; dealing with rejection; staying open to new genre; and handling thesis, dissertation, or publishing deadlines. Also through mindful awareness, we explore structural matters including narrative and organization; imagery and description; metaphor; and character and/or thesis development. Students have the opportunity to tailor a final project around their personal writing plans.


Registration opens late November/early December. For info on how to register, go here.

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