Tag Archives: college

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.


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?

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Where Were You When…?

This is one of those posts that I’m not sure I should write, as no matter what I say, I feel like my words will fall short of anything and everything else that’s being published on the topic.

But this is my memory of September 11, 2001. The only reason I’m publishing this is because I can, because we all have a “where were you when” story to tell, and thank god, we’re all still here to tell it.


I was not in Washington or New York, but rather on my way to class in Michigan. A college student still living at home, my focus was on all the things I should do, and of course, all the things I should be.

At that point in time it was all about me, not selfishly, but in the way that we’re told it should be. Study for this, work over there, network with them — but leave time for fun! — study some more, plan out your life and then watch it all change, either slowly after several years or in a flash before your eyes.

My routine commute on that day took a twist as I made my way into my Shakespeare class, where literary analysis and dissection of prose was soon pushed aside for the news, the scattered bits and pieces of info that nobody knew how to piece together quite yet.

There were airplanes. There were fires.

There was confusion. There was fear.

There were 25 college students—young, relatively ignorant to the evil of the world—huddled together outside in the campus Shakespeare garden with one radio and millions of questions. Hanging on to every static-ridden word, we tried to use our education to make sense of something that 10 years later, we are all still struggling to make sense of.

Although excused for the day, we all hung around—hundreds of us—calling our families and watching the TVs set up in auditoriums, craving a sense of community from those we might otherwise never have uttered a word.

The details from there are unclear, as the gravity of the situation did not pull us down until later, until what we were privy to know would be plastered in our minds and our memories from then until now.

But I remember eating my lunch outside before going home — there was cantaloupe — and the chaotic news reports still filtering in as I sat there, digesting my food and the weight of it all in the best way my 20-year old mind would allow.

My phone rang.

I assured my mom I was on my way home, a place that I’d left just hours before like I did every day of the week.

Like so many people had done on that morning that wouldn’t be going back home.


This is one of those posts that I’m not sure I should publish, as I wasn’t there on that day. I wasn’t privy to first hand accounts and the horror that so many had, that so many still have today.

But this is my memory of September 11, 2001. The only reason I’m publishing this is because I can, because we all have a “where were you when” story to tell, and thank god, we’re all still here to tell it.

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