Why is there a need to reflect on one's creative process, one's creative pieces?
That was the question I asked myself while preparing the Intro to my CW 200b class this second term. I know this is also the question foremost in my students' minds as they try to reflect on their writing.
Descartes' Mind and Body
Because I know they will be thinking, aren't the stories or poems or essays we've written not enough? We struggled over those, sweated through the Workshop and the panelists' comments, and labored over the revisions we had to do on our works. Aren't those enough for a thesis? Why do we have to write about how we wrote those pieces?
The way my college professors explained it to me was: you'll be a better writer if you're aware of what you do -- the effect you achieve by writing your piece this way or that, choosing this word or phrase over another, shaping the narrative this way rather than another, and so on.
Of course some of my professors also argued about how too much self-awareness about one's writing kind of deadens one's enjoyment in the process of creating something, and makes the writing of a creative piece almost mechanical.
But in the business of teaching creative writing, we really cannot help but demand such critical knowledge among our students.
Perhaps the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) says it best in their "Creative Writing Research Benchmark Statement" (2008), when they reviewed and proposed standards for the teaching of creative writing in higher education institutions in the UK.
NAWE points out that this critical awareness will help develop among student writers the confidence to depend on their talent and knowledge as they graduate and become professional writers.As someone who went through the same process myself, I know how important this self-awareness can be. For while having a community of other writers as one's readers will help enhance one's writing, it is finally one's self and not a teacher or a workshop panelist who decides that this piece of writing is ready to see print.
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