Books Creativity Writing

Margaret Atwood teaches creative writing

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Not only is the “Prophet of Dystopia” Margaret Atwood writing a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, she is also teaching an online course for the first time ever. 

In partnership with online education platform MasterClass, one of the most important writers in modern literary circles Margaret Atwood will give her students an inside look at how she creates her timeless stories.  If you’re an aspiring author, Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing will help strengthen your novel with compelling plots and fascinating characters. 

“Genres aren’t closed boxes. Stuff flows back and forth across the borders all the time.”

Margaret Atwood

A timeless approach to storytelling

In 20+ lessons, students will learn how the author of The Handmaid’s Tale constructs powerful storytelling by analyzing literary classics and her own novels.

The class comes with a downloadable workbook that includes lesson summaries and homework assignments to help you perfect your craft. You’ll also be able to upload videos to get class feedback. Margaret will review select student work as well!

Keep in mind your aspiring writer family or friends. If you think they’d be interested in the class, gift it to them!

About MasterClass

If you’ve never taken a MasterClass before, it’s a great opportunity to take a peek into the mind and explore the process of some of the world’s leading experts in photography, writing, music production, filmmaking, and even cooking. You may be aware of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing courseTom Morello’s electric guitar course, or Serena Williams teaches tennis course.   

If you’re looking for a great Christmas gift, considering gifting one of the courses to a loved one or friend. Even better, gift someone the All-Access Pass so they can take all the courses they want. 

Life & Philosophy

Talking out loud

They say the best way to learn something is to teach it to others.

They say one of the best ways to talk to yourself is to talk to another person.

Knowledge is social. Identity is social. What you put out, what you share is what you should expect back in return, quid pro quo.

The knowledgeable person talks out loud but carries a meek stick.

Creativity Tech

This professor describes the future educated person

Dear digital denizens, please rest easy.

That so-called ‘internet addiction’ you have is an evolution of what humans have been doing along — curating, collecting, and sharing. We just do it with more often with the assistance of our screens.

According to professor Kenneth Goldsmith at the University of Pennsylvania, “an educated person in the future will be a curious person who collects better artifacts. The ability to call up and use facts is the new education. How to tap them, how to use them.”

Professor Goldsmith named his course “Wasting Time on the Internet”– an incentive that gets his students to sign up. However, it has the opposite effect. Instead of screen-staring, his students are more likely to create and collaborate.

“They became more creative with each other. They say we’re less social; I think people on the web are being social all the time. They say we’re not reading; I think we’re reading all the time, just online.”

The web is the world’s biggest copy-paste machine. On top of this, Google is our second brain. The fear is that humans will lose their ability to think. However, what happens instead is that we allow more ideas to have sex. Remixing ideas is what Maria Popova of Brainpickings often refers to as “combinatorial creativity.”

“When a D.J. brings a laptop full of music samples to a club he doesn’t play an instrument, but we don’t argue that he isn’t doing something creative in mixing those sounds to create his own effect. In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things. I find it exciting.”

It turns out that wasting time on the Internet could be productive rather than harmful. To think the Internet also means the end of books and face to face communication is also an exaggeration. Of course, like any tool, it depends on what you are using the Internet for — playing games is not the same as sharing research and new ideas.

What’s your opinion on learning in the Internet age? Tweet at me.


Create more than you capture

Listening is an essential part of learning. But then we need to do the work.

Clarity comes from recreation. The only way to understand something is to redo it.

Writing something out is a great way to summarize thoughts. There are also other ways to connect the dots: speaking out loud, mind-mapping, sketching, and walking with a quiet mind.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

Recreating is learning. There’s no better way to learn something than to try to teach it:  to yourself, to others, to an imaginary friend, or the mirror.

Do it by doing it.


Teaching to the test…

undermines knowledge and education.  Memorization kills creativity.

Information is just one step one in doing the work.  The most valuable knowledge comes through random experimentation.  What if?

Not every question needs a right or best answer.  Life is much more complex than the SATs.  

Pre-programming is for robots.  Think beyond gathered information.  Rise above the answer and be open to possibilities.  

Life & Philosophy

Being a good teacher

The pressure on a DJ is to play a combination of what they personally like plus what they think and know what people will like.

The pressure on a writer or remix artist is to write about stuff that excites them in addition to what they know excites their audience.  

The pressure on a good teacher is to teach the curriculum while injecting a bit of personal interest. The inspiration must be authentic.  

The most helpful people are the ones that lead the way without being overly pompous and all knowing. Curiosity is king. 

Teach everything you know, and then some, and learn what inspires the audience.  

PS: The pressure on a politician is to always say the rights things and to curry favor with the constituents. Unfortunately, such phoniness eventually provokes antagonism.