Ancient Greeks were terrified of writer’s block. Who can blame them? According to Plato, poets were just vehicles through which the gods occasionally spoke. As far as I’m concerned, the thought of sitting down, pen in hand, waiting for a deity to possess my body and spirit sounds a little stressful. That’s why so many epic poems of the time start with an invocation to whichever muse the writer hoped would step in on his behalf. “Sing, Oh Muse!” became the rallying cry of Greek poets.
If you’ve ever thought of becoming a writer, but the Greek form of divine inspiration sounds a little too “Exorcist” for you, maybe a writing class is a better first step. Whether you’re aware of it or not, Minneapolis is home to a thriving literary community. At the heart of this community is the Loft Literary Center, a haven for writers seeking support, focus, or just a quiet place to write. They also offer a complete catalog of courses for every skill level and genre; the summer session kicks off in June.
If it’s been a few years since you put pen to paper, start with the basics; Writing for Absolute Beginners or the No Experience Necessary Writers’ Workshop are great options. If you’re interests are more specific, the Loft offers classes that focus on children’s and young adult literature, travel writing, screenwriting, and journalism, among others. Teachers are experienced writers who usually work in the field they teach, so they can pass on real-world insight into the technical aspects of writing and publishing within a specific genre.
If your kids have a creative streak, or you’d like them to develop one, the Loft also offers summer writing classes for teenagers and younger children. 9 to 12 year olds can work on their songwriting skills, learn to write plays or form great characters for their stories. Kids as young as six can attend the week long Summer Camp, where they’ll channel Emerson and Twain as they write about nature along the banks of the Mississippi.
Classes for teenagers (ages 13-17) include sports writing, blogging, SAT/ACT essay writing, comic book-making, and even a creative writing class based on Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight Series. Classes for kids and teenagers run for one or two weeks, and start at different times throughout June, July and August.
In an effort to make writing instruction available to everyone, the Loft uses a sliding fee scale based on household income to determine tuition costs on an individual basis. They also offer scholarships and a work-study program. If this still sounds too pricy, or if you aren’t interested in several weeks of instruction, the Loft also partners with the Hennepin County Library system to offer free, one-hour creative writing classes.