Offered through Stanford Continuing Studies

Establishing a Creative Writing Practice

The benefits of creativity are enormous. Engaging in creative activity lightens our hearts, sharpens our senses, and helps us make peace with our experiences. But all too often we don’t prioritize creative activity, either because we have internalized messages that we aren’t good enough or because life’s demands have gotten in the way. The good news is that it is easy to build a creative habit; creative writing requires no special equipment and can be done almost anytime, anywhere, by anyone, and throughout your life. This course will combine daily writing prompts with inspiring information about why and how to make creativity a part of your solitary time, your family life, and your work life. You will be encouraged to try fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and will get to play with craft in each genre. On the process side, you will learn about growth mindsets, embracing mistakes, and the reasons neuroscience urges us to give up perfectionism. You will leave the course with a portfolio of fresh pieces of writing and a plan for expanding at least one of them into a finished work, as well as the skills, techniques, and habits of mind needed to maintain a regular creative writing practice. This course runs for two five-week sessions in during the Winter Quarter and two five-week sessions during the Summer Quarter—with different prompts for each time period. To retake the course with all different prompts and live activities, just take it during a different time period!

Next offered Winter 2023:
Section WA: January 9 - February 10
Section WB: February 13 - March 17
Registration opens November 28th

Mindfulness and Creative Writing

Writing, paired with mindfulness practice, can bring us back to ourselves and connect us to others, even during the most challenging of times. During this 5-week course, we will learn about and try on contemplative practices paired with creative explorations of past roles, present moment sensory experience, future hopes and commitments, and fictional possibilities. Each 90-minute session will pair mindfulness practice with step-by-step creative writing activities designed to make invention easy and available even for those with no previous writing experience, while those with an existing habit gain new techniques for dropping into creative flow. Between live sessions, students can post their writing to Canvas for peer support and participate in discussions about mindfulness in everyday life. The course will include guided seated meditations (mindfulness and lovingkindness), accessible mindful movement, “scratching” (a term choreographer Twyla Tharp coined to describe preparation for creative insight), the chance to try memoir, poetry and/or fiction, collaborative writing and reflective writing on core values. Each week the activities serve a single theme, such as gratitude, joy, hope, compassion, and self-compassion. At each session, there will be an opportunity to choose an intention, to celebrate our common humanity by sharing writing and/or practicing mindful listening, and to reflect privately on the impact of our participation. The course goals include helping participants build resilience, creating a bridge between mindfulness and creativity, and fostering a community devoted to authenticity, kindness, and serious play.

Next offered: TBA

Stanford Online Certificate Program in Novel Writing Courses

Ammi teaches for Stanford’s Online Certificate Program in Novel Writing Program. These classes are only available to members of the two-year program, with applications due each April for the cohort to begin in the Fall.

Nothing above fit your schedule? Want to discuss a class, workshop or retreat for a writing group, organization or company? Get in touch!