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Course Cost: $89.00 Early Bird

Dates: Tuesdays: 9/10-10/29 5:30-7:00 p.m.

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Required Text: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott (Anchor Books, 1994) *

ASL book 2nd edition

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Program Coordinator

Shane O'Mealey

Just Write!

Instructor: Shanley Wells-Rau


This class is designed to spark your literary ambitions—whether you’re an established writer looking for a push or someone who has never written but wants to get started. This course is designed to meet the specific writing goals of each student. That means, students can follow along with weekly reading assignments and writing prompts while having the freedom to take artistic liberties to individualize the course. We will work as a group to inspire and challenge each other with the common drive to JUST WRITE.

Course Goals

  • To write original works of fiction, poetry, and/or nonfiction.
  • To read works in these genres and to learn the conventions of successful writing.
  • To become familiar with the workshop format, to offer productive criticism to classmates, and to discover the value of community in writing.
  • To better understand the notion of creative writing as “work” by employing editing and revision strategies.

Course Preview

Week 1:  Introductions and Course Overview
Who are we, why are we here
  • Meet each other, learn where we are as writers and what we each want from our eight weeks together
  • Getting started exercises
Week 2:  Getting Started
I write to find out what I think.
  •  Discuss methods of feedback including the class workshop
  •  In-class writing exercises
Week 3:  Strategies for the Act of Writing
Butt in chair. Trust the process
  • Discuss the process of writing and explore strategies
  • Workshop or in-class writing exercises (depending on student preference) **
Week 4:  Form—Which Container Should Hold Your Thoughts?
Storytellers, poets, and liars
  • Discuss previously assigned readings (handouts) on the genres: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction
  • Look at and discuss examples of each
  • Workshop or in-class writing exercises (depending on student preference)
Week 5:  Color
Show me the apple, don’t tell me it’s red.
  • Discuss and review examples of writing without sensory details versus those with sensory details
  • In-class writing exercises around the five senses
Week 6:  Voice—Does it sound like you?
Looking in the dark corners to sound like yourself
  • Define and discuss voice in writing, as well as tools for finding voice
  • Workshop or in-class writing exercises (depending on student preference)
Week 7:  Revision—Looking at your work in different ways
How do I know when it’s done?
  • Review several strategies for revision
  • Workshop or in-class writing exercises (depending on student preference)
Week 8: Class Reading
Send your writing into the world
  • All students will bring in a short excerpt of personal writing to share by reading aloud to the class.
 *Each week students will be assigned relevant reading from the Lamott book and/or supplemental materials provided for them (such as handouts)
**The creative writing workshop is valuable not only for the writer receiving feedback but also for the those reviewing the work and providing feedback. Learning to review others’ writing is an important skill for writers. Since this is a non-credit class, workshops will not be required if a student is too shy or does not wish to share their work in this way.

About the Instructor

Shanley Wells-Rau worked in strategic and crisis communications for the petroleum industry for 20 years before starting graduate work in poetry at Oklahoma State University, where she served as an editorial assistant for Cimarron Review. She completed her MFA in 2018. Her poetry has been published in The Maine Review, Bluestem Magazine, and Poetry Quarterly, among others. She teaches English Comp part-time at OSU and lives on a hill outside Ponca City with her husband and a newly adopted dog-pound dog named Winny.