I started teaching my creative writing class, Write Here! Write Now!, this past Monday night at Temple University. I’m not a faculty professor; I’m a volunteer instructor through the university’s affiliation with the non-profit organization, Pan-African Studies Continuing Education Program (PASCEP). I’ve been teaching for almost four years now and I love working with my creative writing students. The students’ ages range between adolescents in their early teens to retired senior citizens in their early to mid 60s. I don’t possess a graduate degree in creative writing or English, but I share my experience and knowledge of writing poetry, fiction, and essays with my enthusiastic and passionate students.
The first night of each class is always the most interesting one to me as introductions are exchanged and backgrounds are shared between myself and my students. I also share my course goals that I would like to accomplish for each semester. This term, I introduced two new goals that I want to incorporate into my class to assist everybody to stay focused and motivated to write:
- Holding yourself accountable for your commitment to write.
- Create your own personal mission statementby the end of the semester.
The first goal came to me while I was studying for my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. Counselors are held accountable for client effectiveness to their clients, the counseling profession, and third-party payers. As a published writer and author, I’m accountable to myself to write literary bodies of work; to my publisher to write manuscripts for publication; to my readers to write books and/or novels for them to read. Writing takes so much commitment and dedication, I need to hold myself accountable to doing so when I feel procrastinated or frustrated because I can’t come up with new ideas to write.
The second goal is an idea I had when I first started taking my writing serious fifteen years ago. Some organizations have a business mission statement, so why can’t writers have their own personal mission statements? In the past, I met and listened to some writers who aspired to be published authors bragging that they were going to be the next so-and-so. I never understood why some people want to be the second coming of somebody else when they can be the first coming of themselves. I only have to desire to be the best author, poet, and writer that Bill Holmes can be. My mission statement has evolved over the years as my goals have changed with the knowledge and experience I gain that improves my writing skills.
My current students have their own goals they want to accomplish in my class. The next nine weeks will be quite interesting for everybody involved, but I promised them that it may be challenging, but it will also be quite fun. I’ll definitely keep you posted on their progress.
Take care and be blessed.