Saturday, September 28, 2013

Writing education & wisdom

There's been a few great things to note here that I've seen recently that fall under the closely linked subjects of writing education and writing wisdom.

For his personal blog earlier this month, Tommy Tomlinson wrote "The Four Questions" about what he asks students in his writing workshops to help them guide what to write about. Really great things to think about from Tomlinson with the questions (written about more in his blog post) below along with a solid fifth question added by Chris Ballard:

1. What do you know about?
2. What do you care about?
3. What are you curious about?
4. What scares you?
5. What pisses you off?

Another great link around writing education and posted a few weeks ago to The First Bound was the syllabus for a narrative non-fiction course taught by Chris Jones. Included is a ton of interesting material from Jones with his thoughts on the course, resources in the form of published stories to review and weekly schedule. Some of the particular planned days that stood out to me as particularly interesting included the following:

9/21 - Your Ideas (Please come to class with three or four ideas for the "Best Story of Your Life So Far." The class will discuss the merits of each.)
9/28 - Reporting: Where to Begin?
10/05 - Cultivating Sources
10/07 - The Art of the Interview
10/21 - Reporting Finished (Please come to class with all of your reporting for your story, including transcripts. After this class, you should be able to begin writing in earnest.)
11/18 - First Drafts Due (During this class, you will submit a first draft of your story to me and exchange a second copy with a fellow student for peer review.)
12/07 - Final Edit Due

Also very much in the writing education area was a tweet sent out by Paige Williams about the upcoming Nov 8 deadline to apply for a Nieman Foundation Visiting Fellowship. Some of the details noted at the link include the following:

- The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard offers short-term visiting fellowships to individuals interested in working on special research projects designed to advance journalism.
- Applicants need not be practicing journalists, but must demonstrate the ways in which their work at Harvard and the Nieman Foundation may improve the prospects for journalism’s future.
- Successful applicants are invited to the Nieman Foundation for a period ranging from a few weeks to three months, depending on the scope of the project.

I hadn't heard before of the short-term Nieman Fellowships, but they're related to the 10 month long Nieman Fellowships which have had a number of well known writers participate in, including the aforementioned Tomlinson who was recently written about on Nieman Storyboard as a 2009 Nieman Fellow.

The last things around writing to mention on this post aren't necessarily as squarely in the category of journalism education, but definitely fall under the area of writing wisdom and start off with two posts to the writing site Gangrey"Letter to a Young Journalist" was from Tampa Bay Times writer Lane DeGregory and features some great advice on thoughts on people entering the field. Additionally,"I'd Like To Have Everything, You Know, Nice" was a post about what stories writers on the site view as great pieces to aspire to the level of writing in them and there's now 20-25 different pieces linked in the comments.

Also of interest lately has been a few mentions of the Gangrey podcast series with interviews by Journalism professor and writer Matt Tullis. Podcast episodes range from 20 to 50 minutes and the 9 recorded so far feature the following writers: Luke Dittrich, Jason Fagone, Brian Mockenhaupt, Jesse Lichtenstein, Stephen Rodrick, Kelley Benham French, Pamela Colloff, Michael J. Mooney and Justin Heckert.