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Interview with The Writers Studio’s Lucinda Holt

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The Writers Studio is one of the most popular writing workshops in New York. Since 1987 the organization has been dedicated to helping writers sharpen their skills and, as technology advanced, The Writers Studio expanded their services. At present, The Writers Studio offers many online classes and Lucinda Holt is the Director of the Writers Studio Online Program. A writer herself, Lucinda is also the director of communication at Answer, a Rutgers University-based program that provides comprehensive sexual education.

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Recently I had the opportunity to interview Lucinda Holt about her experiences with The Writers Studio, specifically the online program:

Q: I heard that everyone who teaches at The Writers Studio must have first been a student there. What were your experiences as a student at The Writers Studio?

The Writers Studio offers a specific technique developed by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz. Teachers learn this technique as students in the school, and for many, many people--myself included--the technique is a powerful way to strengthen your ability to tell the stories you want to tell or write the poems you want to write. The technique works in much the same way other artists learn their technique. For example, if you want to be a composer, you don't hear great music and then simply sit down to compose a symphony. You practice scales and you master the works of great composers. It's through this practice that you then have the skills necessary to play and create your own work. This is how the Writers Studio approaches learning to write fiction and poetry.

This technique coupled with a community of dedicated writers creates a unique environment to practice and master your skill as a writer. As a student I always felt challenged by exercises based on literary fiction and poetry, but I was also encouraged by my teachers and my fellow writers. In classes you're all grappling with getting a handle on the same techniques, and it's often easier to understand what you need to be doing in your writing when you see someone else working through the same thing.

The Writers Studio focuses on the art and the skills necessary to produce great writing; writing that moves people.

Q: How did you get interested in teaching for The Writers Studio? Also, why did you choose to teach the Online Programs?

I love to teach. I love to work with my students and see their work improve over months. Their success is so inspiring! I just had a student win a Pushcart Prize for a story that I'm not sure she saw a lot of potential in. She knew she was having fun writing, but I don't know that she realized there was a story trying to be told. But I knew right away that she had a powerful story to tell. This is why I teach. I love to teach in person, and I love the give and take in an actual classroom.
I teach online because it's convenient, and the technology is a great tool that makes our classes accessible to people all over the world. When I teach online, I find working with a wide range of students very satisfying. There are lots of stories to be told, and when you have a group of people sharing and talking about their work from across the country--and sometimes around the world--it makes for a great class.

Q: What have been the most interesting and/or rewarding parts of teaching for The Writers Studio?

As I mentioned above my students' success and working with people from all over is the most rewarding part of teaching for The Writers Studio.

Q: Over the next ten years how would you like to see the online programs at The Writers Studio expanded?

We're looking forward to sharing this technique with many more students and increasing our technical capacity. The Writers Studio has helped so many writers, and there is potential to reach many more.

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To find out more about The Writers Studio, including Lucinda’s class schedule, visit the official website:

www.writerstudio.com/

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