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EGL 19 WA — The Creative Habit: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Oct 23
Drop Deadline: Sep 24
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $345
Instructor(s): Malena Watrous
Limit: 125
Status: Closed
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 21—Oct 23
5 weeks
Drop By
Sep 24
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Malena Watrous
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Creativity comes naturally to us from childhood, but “real life” often gets in the way, with its critical voices and practical concerns suppressing the impulse to put our ideas on paper and make art. Even if you can barely remember the last time you wrote anything beyond an email, a text, or a grocery list, the seeds of creativity are still deep inside you and need only a little coaxing to flourish again. This course is based on the notion that it takes twenty-one days to form a habit, and the fact that writing just a little every day will take away the anxiety of the blank page and make you more observant, more in touch with your creativity, and as a result, happier and more fulfilled. Every weekday, for five weeks, you will receive a prompt, from which you should freewrite for thirty to sixty minutes (or whatever you can spare). Weekends will be off, with optional short prompts for those who want to sustain momentum. The daily prompts will encourage you to try creative nonfiction (writing from what you know), fiction (turning what you know into stories, or making things up), and simple poetic forms (exploring the boundaries of language). You may always approach a prompt from a different genre or angle. This course is for those who want to write without inhibition and have fun without an evaluative component. You will be allowed to choose one piece each week for instructor feedback, if you wish, and you can work in a small group or opt not to. We will seek to forge a community and find the quality of heightened awareness that comes from using creative writing as a way of being more present in the world.

Because of the high enrollment capacity, students will not receive instructor feedback on daily writing posts. Instead, students may receive light instructor feedback on one five-hundred-word piece per week.

Section WA and Section WB of “The Creative Habit: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice” have the same objective—to foster a daily practice—but use different daily prompts. The prompts for the Fall course are different from the ones in Spring. Students may register for Section WA or WB, or for both.

Malena Watrous, Former Stegner Fellow; Online Writing Lead Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me, and co-author of the novel Sparked. She has contributed to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow.