Writers are a product of their environment. The time and place in which they live inevitably impact what they write, why they write, and how they write. I assign a brief reflection essay in my Introduction to Creative Writing class which asks students to consider social, historical, and cultural factors that influence the poetry, fiction, or nonfiction they write, either directly or indirectly. It encourages students to identify patterns in their writing, and to reflect on what it means to live in a specific part of the world at a specific time in history. This makes them more aware of the world around them and encourages critical thinking. The reflection essays are often insightful and moving and highlight the diversity of background and experiences that students bring to the classroom. Here I discuss the purpose of this assignment, challenges instructors might face, and strategies to make it more effective and useful.
"Writing Here, Writing Now; Making Sense of It All: Examining Cultural and Historical Context in the Introductory Creative Writing Class,"
Journal of Creative Writing Studies: Vol. 6:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://repository.rit.edu/jcws/vol6/iss2/4