Why take a writing class?

It was a Saturday morning inside a 100-year-old school building in Hood River, Oregon. The first session of Jumpstart Your Writing was about to start.

“Why did you sign up for the class?” I asked the students.

“I want to love writing again and have my self-confidence back,” one woman said, before explaining how, when she was in grade school, a teacher told her that writing wasn’t going to be her thing. The teacher believed that if someone wasn’t good at something right away, it was best to try something else. “I felt like my hands had been burned,” the student said.

Another student said she got lots of ideas but didn’t know how to put them on paper. She also explained that she could be very critical of herself.

For still another student, it was “the pressure of deadlines and something specific to write” that she was looking forward to in class. Although she’d completed her degree in English ten years before, she said, “I haven’t written a lick since.”

There are a lot of reasons to take a writing class: To create a writing routine. To work on specific projects. To increase how much and how often you write. To discover what you were meant to write about. To spend time with people who value writing.

Do you think writing classes can be helpful? Why or why not?

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