Premiere of Write Now Informs, Inspires Local Writers

During a WRITE NOW session on publishing, South Florida writer Ralph Hogges responds to UM's 2009 Distinguished Visiting Writer, R. Zamora Linmark.

For the first time ever, the University of Miami’s MFA in Creative Writing Program opened its doors for a weekend of workshops and seminars to local community members seeking guidance on the craft of writing. Held February 27 and 28 on the Coral Gables campus, Write Now featured instruction by faculty and alumni experts and graduate teaching assistants who are widely published in fiction, poetry, and memoir—on the page and theatrical stage.

Write Now was designed for both the burgeoning and veteran writer, and those who attended represented the full gamut of experience. Some participants attended an individual session of interest, but most signed up for the entire two-day seminar. Sessions tackled challenges and offered techniques for writing in every genre—from the A-Z process of writing and publishing to the creative precision of flash fiction, the development of character, the art of the repeating line in poetry, and the impulse and objective of memoir.

Guests also were treated to a special master class with Lester Goran, author of 14 novels and founder of the University’s Creative Writing Program in 1992. In honor of Professor Goran’s 50-year teaching anniversary at the University of Miami, all proceeds from Write Now helped establish the Goran Scholarship in Creative Writing to support future MFA in Creative Writing students.

Sessions led by graduate teaching assistants gave participants intensive, one-on-one guidance on how to break through their most nefarious writing blocks. Topics included turning real-life experiences into fiction, maximizing tension and conflict, creating a sense of place, and gaining inspiration from playfulness in poetry.

Upon conclusion of the weekend, several Write Now participants commented that they gained insight on how to stimulate their creativity and how to trust themselves as writers. Others benefited from conversations about process, the different ways writers “get in the zone,” and learning to “allow my writing to go where it needs to go, not where I want it to go.”

All participants said they would recommend Write Now to others and would be interested in participating in similar events in the future. Write Now was sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences, and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at the University of Miami, as well as community partner Books & Books. Stay tuned to the Creative Writing Program website for more information on the second installment of Write Now, slated for February 2011.