Practical Classes for Writers

It’s back to school time for most people, and while I value my college education, I can’t help but feel that the writing curriculum they provided didn’t necessarily prepare me for the real world.

Of course I took the basics for academic, creative and professional writing, but technical skills aside, they failed to address the more “realistic” aspects of being a writer.

writing

So with that said, I have proposed a few more practical classes that all aspiring writers should be required to take.

Textual Dysfunction

This introductory prerequisite will tackle the perennial problem of writer’s block and the five stages every writer will go through. Along with preparing the student for the emotional trauma of textual dysfunction, several creative writing exercises will be performed in an effort to facilitate creative expression — including how to explain to friends and family that your blog/novel is not based on them, even though it probably is.

Emotional Exfoliation

Learn to brush off those who don’t realize your obvious genius and hope your skin grows back thicker, because whether you’re a creative writer, a technical writer or a blogger (extra credit if you’re a blogger), you will get rejected many more times than not. Participants will learn to go from query and submission to dealing with the “nice no,” the “hell no” and the “what the hell do they know?” of rejection.

However, everyone is also asked to gather up their rejection letters to use for decoupaging a complimentary flask as part of art therapy offered as a follow-up course.

Narcissism in the Age of the Internet

Attendees will be given the tools needed to make their tweets fake trophy-worthy, their Facebook updates ring with confidence/insecurity and their selfies flattering in the light of the bathroom. They will also be given tips on how to buy fans/followers and Photoshop their profile pictures to an almost unrecognizable image.

Workspace Feng Shui

It’s important that writers create a comfortable environment when waiting for inspiration to hit. Learn to prioritize these tasks, such as what size Post-Its to write your to-do list on, where that plant looks best, color organization of pens, snack drawer replenishment and paperclip sculpture and art.

Professional Courtesy

Often writers are tasked with working in an office setting. In this course, students will learn the basics to avoid creating a hostile work environment, such as: never “replying all” to an email, both changing and replacing the paper towel roll and trash bag in the office kitchen and washing dirty dishes instead of placing them NEXT to the sink in hopes the imaginary maid will do it.

In addition, flashcards will be created with phrases like, “Weekend was great!” “Weather is wonderful!” “Can’t believe it’s Monday!” in an effort to cut down on generic coworker chit-chat.

Typo Trauma 101*

Play it off as funny? Run away and start a new life? Learn how to deal with the angst of finding a typo more than .5 seconds after something has been posted or published somewhere you can’t go back and edit.

*The support group will meet immediately after this session. Carbs will be provided.


Seeing as most writers are introverted attention hounds who just want to be left alone, graduation ceremonies would be held online where participants could submit their best work for a round of social media “likes” from the comfort of their couch.

Now that’s a class I could go for.

Here’s your homework: What class would you add to the list for your job?

Like the blog? Buy the books!

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49 responses to “Practical Classes for Writers

  1. I hate hate hate hate seeing a typo in a drawing, where I can’t quickly/easily fix it on a post. HATE.

  2. These should all be required classes. How do they not exist?

  3. I need the Emotional Exfoliation. STAT.

  4. Sign me up for the Typo Trauma support group! I would also recommend Advanced Procrastination – Avoidance Strategies for Maximum Efficiency.

  5. Hahahaha love this. I do workspace feng shui all the time. Too often, in fact. 😛 Thanks for this – I’m not alone 🙂

  6. So glad its not just me with the typo thing.. I swear.. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME

  7. Don’t forget the companion class to Typo Trauma 101: the “I Hit Publish When I Really Meant to Hit Save!” class. Admittedly, this class would be geared more towards bloggers than anyone else.

  8. Perhaps one called “This New Thing Called ‘Laughter’: The Art of Writing Humor”, because I’ve taken about 10 million writing courses and whenever it comes to peer-review, I end up feeling sad for myself as well as the people whose writing is all seriousness. It’s depressing, and college kids should learn that “sad” does not equal “good”.

  9. You should sell this lesson plan in your Zazzle shop, too!

  10. Sign me up! I’m all over it. I’ll bring carbs.

  11. I would definitely take the Textual Dysfunction class to learn how to convince family members that the book is not about them, and I need the Narcissism in the Age of the Internet class b/c clearly I have not stuck the right balance of confidence & insecurity on FB. You nailed social media.

  12. My five stages are currently in rapid fire mode. I’m so glad I’m not alone.

  13. If there is one thing I have learned about being a writer is that there is always something worth learning about the art form. I mean I have been called out on grammar issues and I have been writing for over 10 years. But to be fare it’s not always easy to express a story so one can see how things like that can be problematic.

    Visit: http://www.alltheeabove.WordPress.com and get reblogged. I always support good content ^_^

  14. Hilarious! I’ve got to follow.

  15. When I become dripping wealthy, I will heal a lingering pet peeve from my corporate office days by hiring large, muscular guys to block employee break room doors until people clean up after themselves. Additionally, anybody who eats other people’s food from the fridge will be pantsed, squirted with grape juice, and downloaded to YouTube.

  16. This is great! I related to everyone!

  17. “How Not To Take Yourself Too Seriously”. I love the ones you mentioned, and we all know that we’re going to screw up from time to time. This class would cut down on the therapy needed from all of the above. 😉

  18. Brilliant insight

  19. How about “Comma feng shui: the endless art of repositioning the comma.”
    Hilarious post!

  20. Love this! I’ll sign up 🙂 How bout Writing Mythology: all the “reasons” for not writing. Sometimes my excuses are way out there.

  21. Nicely said. I’ll have myself a pack of those flashcards thanks. 🙂

  22. Emotional Exfoliation! 🙂 love it!

  23. Excellent!! I couldn’t add another!

  24. The class I would add about being a writer would be called – So what if my husband thinks I’m going to offend too many people with my writing. In this class, we will learn that we are simply publishing the thoughts and opinions that rattle around in our heads all day long. We are not here to offend. Only to inspire thinking.

  25. I’d take the Emotional Exfoliation class in a heartbeat. As for what I would add . . . it would have to be “Venting with Brevity”, since when I sit down to write a post about something I am passionate, angry, annoyed or otherwise emotionally obsessed with, I don’t attempt to close the post until I realize I’ve reached the 3000 word mark.

  26. Maybe there should be so etching about dealing with the embarrassment of people you actually know reading what you’ve written, especially when you can’t remember how much you wrote about them and whether it was bad,

  27. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, great post 🙂

  28. wonderful points, every writer goes through and need to understand & appreciate that there exist different perspectives…it counts!!!

  29. There’s typos and there’s grammatical errors that are all too common – add ‘Grammatical Errors’ to your list! 🙂

  30. I really enjoyed this post! So good. As a new writer and blogger I love the ‘Emotional Exfoliation’ class idea. Mine is currently gossamer with a durable backing of translucent moist frogskin, once stuffed inside a shoe, kept from the light for nearly twenty years or so. I think I’ll enjoy zero followers for as long as I’m likely to not have any. (Which should be just this side of forever). Thanks Abby!

  31. shinobiswordsman

    How about “The Five Forms of Energy: A short history of coffee, tea, energy drinks, and insomnia”? Great post 🙂

  32. i guess, i need coffee 😆

  33. Haha wicked post! Textual Dysfunction for sure 😉

  34. Will you analyze my work place feng shui for me? My work space is a dirty bed surrounded by laundry and a sleeping cat. What does that tell you about my “go get ’em” attitude toward writing?

  35. Holy smokes, do you have like a million followers or what??? I think I’d like to write a book one day. Mostly it’d be about nothing, but I’d probably curse a lot and talk about drinking and raising kids to be half way decent adults. It’s a gift, really. Your classes sounds amazing. Would it be totally douchy of me to point out your lil typo in the first paragraph?? I don’t want to, but on the other hand, I totally have to (OCD). lol.

  36. I was thinking you missed an opportunity for a joke. You could have labeled the editing course “Typoe Trauma 101”. But then, I like those obvious jokes a little too much.

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