…because fine writing rarely pays, fine writers usually end up teaching, and the [MFA] degree, however worthless to the spirit, can be expected to add something to the flesh.
Flannery O’Connor is infamous for her statements regarding writing programs. She held that writing—or rather, good writing—cannot be taught, which is ironic, as she was foundational to the Iowa Writing Program, arguably the most successful writing program in the U.S. O’Connor might have been partially correct in her assertion that creative and visionary writing cannot be taught. It is true that each writer must explore and develop her/his organic voice from within, which can take years of study, some of which will be quite isolating. The writer with her pen or laptop. Still, even in these isolating hours, the writer will return again and again to her favorite novels, short stories, essays, memoirs and poetry, and in this, the true education exists. What the writer reads is essential and foundational to the writer’s development. And for this reason, a writing teacher can be inspirational and guiding. Whether you are teaching a writing student or editing a developing writer, the master books, stories, essays and poems that you offer as insight and inspiration can lead a developing writer to her organic and brilliant voice. True. Real writing cannot be taught, it must be found within. But an excellent teacher or editor can be a vital key toward unlocking doors within that writer. Below, O’Connor considers one door she calls vision:
In the last twenty years the colleges have been emphasizing creative writing to such an extent that you almost feel that any idiot with a nickel’s worth of talent can emerge from a writing class able to write a competent story. In fact, so many people can now write competent stories that the short story as a medium is in danger of dying of competence. We want competence, but competence by itself is deadly. What is needed is the vision to go with it, and you do not get this from a writing class.
How does a teacher or editor help a developing writer find her “vision”? Books? Yes. Practice? Yes. Debilitating critique? No. One of the worst habits of horrid writing teachers and editors is to shut down the writer’s exploration. More often than not, the writer’s vision will be found in writing “through” an idea rather than shutting it down altogether. Whether or not a writer’s current words will make the final cut, writing them are essential to the process and journey. Be a ruthless editor, yes. But do it with kindness and always an eye toward the student/writer’s intention. And be wary of harshly shutting down ideas. Even the “bad” ones. Sometimes, these bad ideas can become brilliantly metamorphic. And on this note, let’s explore your own talents for teaching and editing writing.
Completely General, & Yet, Attainable Goals
- To explore teaching and editing resources, organizations, tools, pedagogies and critical theories;
- To explore and utilize effective digital marketing tools for print and online editing;
- To create an effective course lesson in your chosen course focus;
- To cull, select works and edit a chapbook for release at The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review;
- To review and give notes on student submissions;
- To understand the foundations and importances of copyrights and public domains.
An Insanely Long List of Course Materials & Resources
You will not be asked to purchase all of the below materials, just a few. Several of the works will appear as excerpts within the course lessons.
- Associated Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)
- Adobe Suite
- Baltimore Book Festival
- Book Expo America (BEA)
- Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Peter Barry.
- Cite Right, Second Edition: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More. Charles Lipson.
- Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP).
- Cornelia Street Cafe
- Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Stephen Eric Bronner.
- Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Lois Tyson.
- The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. David H. Richter.
- Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynne Truss.
- Editors on Editing. Gerald Gross.
- FileZilla: Server and File Management
- Google Ads
- A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.
- KGB Bar
- Lightning Source
- Literary Theories and Schools of Criticism. Purdue Online Writing Lab.
- Microsoft Office Suite
- National Book Critics Circle (NBCC)
- The Norton Anthology of World Literature: Literary Terms. W. W. Norton & Company.
- The Norton Introduction to Literature. W. W. Norton & Company.
- Predators & Editors
- Project Gutenberg
- Publisher’s Marketplace.
- Publisher’s Weekly
- Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them. Francine Prose.
- Sewanee Writer’s Conference
- Stackoverflow.com: Technical Questions Answered Quickly
- W3schools.com: HTML & CSS
- Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plan English: Third Edition. Patricia T. O’Conner.
- W3schools.com: HTML & CSS
- Women in Literary Arts (VIDA)
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.
- Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl, Cynthia Ward.
Course Methods by Which You Will Fail or Succeed 🙂
In this internship course, you will augment your creative writing program with practical experiences in teaching and editing outside the university bubble, and yet, with adherence to critical and pedagogical rigors expected from your university teaching and writing program. You will engage in current literary professional practices and expectations including digital and print standards, as well as, technological and marketing platforms essential to teachers and editors of writing today. The internship will last 3+ months, and the lessons are work at your own pace. You will be expected to complete them in a timely and autonomous manner. You are encouraged to ask for help, of course, when needed. Questions? Email Rae at firstname.lastname@example.org. 911? Text Rae at 301-514-2380.
Your first lesson will begin as soon as you click the “Start Course” button. When you’ve completed each lesson, click the “Lesson Complete” button and your next lesson will be available to you.
The Paperwork: You Do Want to Get Paid, Right?
PROFILE: To input you into our system, and set up your Intern One on One Workshop page, you’ll need to fully complete your profile. Please do this now.
ONE ON ONE INTERN WORKSHOP: Payments will be commissioned-based and only on writing students who sign up for your One on One Workshop. All faculty and interns receive 60% of student registrations for their One on One Workshop. Regular faculty charge $.03 a word. It is recommended that you charge $.01 a word as an intern, but if you believe you can encourage student registrations at $.02 a word, great. Because you are an intern, your fee will be less than faculty members. This will encourage writers to “try you out.” This, however, doesn’t mean that writers will. As part of your internship, you will learn the marketing tools essential to not only building a student base, but also a reader/editorial base, including social networking and Metrilo, a marketing, newsletter and metrics software system for digital companies. To begin the process of setting up your One on One Workshop page, visit any of the Faculty pages for examples and ideas. Click here to set up your One on One Intern Workshop.
FRESHBOOKS: We use Freshbooks for our accounting and invoicing system. As paid interns, you will be W-9 contractors and will submit your invoices through our Freshbooks system. Freshbooks keeps everyone’s financials and banking information safe, secure and separate while keeping excellent records of all transactions. This is essential for year end accounting. Don’t worry about starting your Freshbooks account right now. We’ll get you set up at the start of your first student registration.
Rae Bryant is the author of the short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals. Her stories and essays have appeared in print and online at The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Diagram, StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s, New World Writing, Gargoyle Magazine, and Redivider, among other publications and have been nominated for the Pen/Hemingway, Pen Emerging Writers, &NOW Award and Pushcart Prize. She has won awards in fiction from Whidbey Writers and The Johns Hopkins University as well as fellowships from the VCCA and Hopkins to write, study and teach in Florence. She earned a Masters in Writing from Hopkins where she continues to teach creative writing. She has also taught in the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa and guest-lectured at American University. She is the founding editor in chief of The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. Rae is the director of The Eckleburg Workshops. She has been teaching writing for 25+ years and holds a Bachelor of Humanities in English and Teaching from PSU. Rae is a member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP, NBCC, CLMP and Johns Hopkins Alumni Association. She is represented by Jennifer Carlson of Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.