Teaching creative writing requires that you have an understanding of the process and theory of writing itself. Therefore, you need to know how to get students involved with the process. Planning what you will teach and how long it will take is crucial, and you must be able to tailor your plan to the abilities, talents, interests, and needs of your students. However, what many teachers often forget is that creative writing is (and should always be) both creative and very technical. So, here are a few suggestions to help keep it going:
That means planning out your lessons before you begin the semester so that you are prepared and you have time to explore the themes that will be of most interest to your students. That way, you can use reading materials that they enjoy, utilize activities and games that they will enjoy, and you can encourage them to bring their own creativity to the assignments and to the class. As with any teaching endeavor, successful teaching of creative writing classes requires planning.
Feedback can be one of the most difficult aspects of teaching creative writing, because as a writer, you may feel as if your every move is being critiqued by someone who has no interest in what you’re doing. However, when you foster open and honest communication with your students, they will respond positively to your efforts and see that you value their opinions. Thus, you will build stronger bonds with your students and foster a lifelong commitment to their education.
While some genres are easier to teach than others, there are some genres that almost require teaching. For example, one of the most difficult aspects of teaching creative writing in college is how to teach serious and professional fiction. In this case, it’s best to start out teaching high school freshman poetry before moving on to more adult-oriented material.
Even if you think that your students may be eager to learn about a certain type of short story, you should still teach it carefully. For example, you should teach high school senior level poetry before you attempt any short story. Or you should only teach young adult novels before tackling serious analysis and writing. There are many genres that you could teach, but knowing your material will help you choose which ones to teach.
When teaching creative writing to writers of all ages, it is important to always keep the lessons simple and relevant. Most writers need assistance to learn proper sentence structure and strong verbs, but they also need help to connect the dots between scenes and events and to describe their characters. As a result, it’s crucial to create lesson plans with appropriate amounts of reading material to help writers practice and improve their writing skills. If you want to teach writers more about writing, it’s time to start using these techniques.