Saturday, July 17, 2010

Can You Teach (Rock and Roll) Writing?

Great question.

Yes, one can teach rock and roll writing, like I will in my all new, never-before-ventured online rock and roll writing course at the Basement Writing Workshop in October.

Here's how.

Let's say you want to write about your favorite band, Thin Lizzy. You write a personal essay about how their 1976 album Jailbreak changed your life. You submit it to workshop, wanting feedback.

So, what happens?

People will read it and probably love aspects of it. And probably there will be other things that don't quite work for them.

"Wait," you say. "People are going to judge my essay? What elitist horseshit. Who are they to judge my feelings about my favorite rock album?"

You see, that's just it. In any good writing course, people absolutely would not judge your feelings about your favorite rock album. They'd judge the rendering of your feelings about your favorite rock album. They'd critique your writing, not you.

There might be feelings expressed in your essay you could flesh out better, or arguments you could make more convincingly, or descriptions that could be more vivid.

This will be the case with most everyone's work. There will be something about everyone's writing that is remarkable, and something that doesn't quite come together. It will be our job to suggest ways to make it better.

Now, are these suggestions easy to take? If they are, you probably don't have much invested in your writing. But there will be comments that will have that ring of truth to them, that will make you take pause and wonder if your work could indeed be better. You can always choose to ignore any comments, or you can revise your work with the comments in mind. As the writer, it's your job to make those decisions.

Also, in case you were wondering, in my course it will not be my or anyone's job to try and convince you that Jailbreak isn't the greatest album in the world. That's not at all what we'll do. Any good writing class takes the work you bring to workshop and tries to make it better. I don't want you to write my ideas about Jailbreak--if I wanted that, I'd write my own essay--I want to read about your ideas of Jailbreak, because it will tell me as much about you as it will about Jailbreak.

So, that's how one teaches rock and roll writing. Take the renderings of your ideas about rock and roll and make them better. It's fun, and stimulating, and a great way to hone your writing skills.

And if you sign up now for the course, you get 15% off.

Rock and roll!

Yours in laying down the law,


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