In this article, I make a case for increased instruction in prewriting and specifically the preverbal as a more effective instruction in the process of creative writing than afforded by mainly exercise- or workshop-based teaching. Prewriting is the moment in which the writer faces the preverbal in order to begin writing: it is an expansive mindset containing few preconceptions about style, content, or genre. To successfully engage the preverbal, creative writing students work at a distance from audience expectations through activities which are low-stakes, informal, and occasionally private. The article describes four invention heuristics which foster the preverbal: freewriting, Peter Elbow’s Open-Ended method, Sondra Perl’s Felt Sense method, and Yoga for Hands. The benefits of this prewriting-based invention in the creative writing classroom are multifold. Such invention strategies help students generate ideas for new pieces; foster awareness of the creative process; and help reduce writing anxiety in the short- and long-term. In fact, prewriting can serve as a bellwether for the quality of a person’s overall writing process—and writing education.
"The Terrain of Prewriting,"
Journal of Creative Writing Studies: Vol. 2:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://repository.rit.edu/jcws/vol2/iss1/1