When I blog about creative writing classes, I concentrate on the meat and bones of the class, the exercises, the techniques. Certainly, once you have those in place, your class will go smoothly. But it’s the ingredients you can’t predict that decide whether a creative writing class will have that extra zing.
I’ve identified three of those ingredients. It may sound as if I’m being flippant, but when these ingredients are in place, the atmosphere will be pleasant and conducive to learning. They’re a real indicator of the mood of the class.
They tell you they can’t make class
If a person texts or calls you to tell you they’re not coming, it’s a touching sign that they’re committed to the class and wish they could be there. They’ve built up a relationship with you and they don’t want to leave you in the lurch. And it’s reassuring to know that if I see an empty chair, it’s empty for a good reason and the person hasn’t jumped ship.
2. They take a long time to do the exercises.
Some people naturally work quickly. But I’ve found that when students take longer over exercises, they’re taking care to understand what they need to do. Again, it’s a sign of commitment. It can also show that students are getting carried away with their writing and that the creative juices are flowing.
They eat the biscuits at break
I’m on a secret mission to thicken my students’ waistlines! No, I actually get biscuits and chocolates out of appreciation for the fact that they’ve decided to brave my classes. And I’ve noticed that when students eat them, they’re willing to let their hair down, relax and have a laugh.
If you give or go to creative writing classes, what do you think are the tipping points for a successful class?