Happy holidays! My word, I've been having too much fun to be online. I hope you have, as well.
The Practice of Writing course begins in a couple of weeks, and I need to send encouraging notes to the class and start offering personal makeout sessions to each student (that's a hidden benefit of the class). I know many of you have been focusing on the holiday season, however, so I'm giving you a little extra time to realize that you deserve something as well.
Before I close registration, here are some answers to your questions. (I'm also adding this FAQ to the course description page.) Let me know if you have more!
Q. So how exactly does this class work?
A. Every weekday, you'll receive a lesson in your inbox. This lesson will also be posted on a password-protected part of my site, where you can comment and chat with your fellow students. The lesson will contain instruction (and, I hope, inspiration!) as well as an assignment or prompt for the day.
After reading the day's lesson, you would (in an ideal world) complete the prompt/assignment by writing for fifteen minutes each day. This is the time limit I recommend for writers who are starting out. Keep it short, but write every day. That's how you create a habit.
Q. So what are the lessons about?
A. There are twenty-five separate lessons, so there's a lot of material covered. The main thrust of the class is overcoming procrastination and anxiety and creating a routine, but I also cover dealing with rejection, improving your craft, writing about sticky subjects, why "talent" is overrated…I could go on, but then I'd give away the entire course. There's a lot.
Q. Do you critique each day's writing?
A. I do not. I strongly believe that no one should be critiquing your first-draft, stream-of-consciousness work. In the last session of the course, I read people's daily work, but this ended up being counterproductive to the purpose of the class. I also found that many students chose to write longhand and not share their work, and they ended up being extremely happy with the course. This is why I'm recommending that all my students write longhand for their daily practice. (This isn't a requirement, of course--I realize that some people hate writing longhand.)
Although I can't read the daily prompts, I will check in with students and see what they're up to. If you want me to read a piece that might be further along, or just want reassurance that you don't suck, I'm here to assist and guide as needed.
Q. Do I have to share my work with the class?
A. Nope. Your work is your own. Again, for your daily practice, I think it's best that you consider that private. There's no better way to allow yourself to take risks.
Q. What if I have questions?
A. I'll be available every evening to answer questions on the course site, as well as via email!
Q. I want to take the course but my schedule doesn't allow me to write every day. Can I still take the class?
A. While I hope you make it your goal to write for fifteen minutes a day, you can absolutely complete this course at your own pace. Once you sign up, you have the material in your inbox for as long as you need it. (I'll also provide a complete PDF of the class material at the end of the five weeks.)
Q. I'm not a blogger or fiction writer. Is this course for me?
A. This course is for you if you're feeling blocked creatively and want to deepen your writing practice. It doesn't really matter what writing you've done up until now. It doesn't matter if you've never written before but are curious about trying, or if you've been writing for decades.
Q. Will you tell me how to make money blogging?
A. Nope--there is nothing in this course that has anything to do with making money as a blogger. Or as a writer, for that matter! Although of course I hope we all end up making money doing the things we love. This is my dream.