Offered in 2013


Beyond the Block: How to Beat a Fear of Writing

Many of us want to write more effectively, but suffer from a lack of confidence. Perhaps you have a novel stuck in your mind or simply want to pen a persuasive letter. We'll tackle head-on the myriad reasons that inhibit us from putting words on the page. During our look at the craft of writing from inside out, we will also explore the whys, hows, and wherefores of what a truly effective writer does.

Later on, we’ll investigate what happens behind the scenes to produce writing that resonates and moves. Understanding this process can help you navigate your own journey from an interesting idea to a compelling amalgam of words that urges others to see things anew or even changes a part of the world—whether small or great.

A $56 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Week 1: The Why of Writing

Why do people write? History is revealed to us largely through writing, which was always done with a purpose. We will explore some of the motivations and methods of writers in the past as we ask: What makes you want to write?

Week 2: Stepping up to the Challenge

If people are motivated to write, why don’t they just do to it? We will look at some of the common blocks that prevent us from getting words down on paper and consider the various methods that professional writers use to overcome inhibitions and doubts.

Week 3: Beginning That First Draft

A stable and durable house cannot be built without the right materials placed in the right way. Writers have evolved different methods for starting out with their first drafts. Some proceed carefully from detailed outlines, while others trust the Muse to move their fingers.

Week 4: The One True Craft: Editing

Some professional writers contend that the real craft of writing lies in editing – in reshaping paragraphs and polishing sentences until they glow with life. Working with an editor starts with oneself, the most critical and supportive ally you will encounter in mastering your craft.

Week 5: Finding and Owning Your Voice

Great writers have “voices” we immediately recognize. We will look at selected examples from Mark Twain and Alice Munro of successful writing to discover how style is obtained and developed. What’s unique about you? And how do you learn to express that through words?

Week 6: The Writerly Life

Serious writers endure many solitary hours confronting their limitations, and yet remain compelled. Whether your goal is writing a snappy blog post or a literary masterpiece, this overview of the writer’s vocation may help you decide whether a finely written piece is worth all the effort.

How will I learn?

  • Discussion
  • In-class writing exercises
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

Who should take this course?

This course is for anyone who is interested in discovering the various elements that give confidence to writing and will appreciate a dynamic and interactive classroom environment.

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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