In this paper, I argue that writing tasks (assignments, exercises, prompts, activities, etc.) are one of the best tools we have to teach our students how to perform the activity of writing more effectively. Contemporary creative writing instructors tend to be suspicious of writing tasks, and I argue that this suspicion is a largely result of the predominantly “text-centered” view of writing instruction that prioritizes teaching students “textual knowledge” above all else. Following others, I call for placing a much greater pedagogical emphasis upon the process of producing texts, and I argue that this can only be accomplished by centering the activity of writing in our pedagogies. From there, I review empirical research from composition studies and educational psychology in order to make three predictions about the efficacy of writing tasks, and I explore the implications of these hypotheses by discussing how I use writing tasks to teach introductory creative writing students to use Anne Lamott’s concept of “short assignments” as they write. Finally, I conclude by identifying some directions for future research and by making a few remarks about the benefits of pedagogical pluralism in postsecondary creative writing education.
Syrewicz, C. Connor
"Centering the Activity of Writing: Designing Writing Tasks for the Introductory Creative-Writing Classroom,"
Journal of Creative Writing Studies: Vol. 6:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://repository.rit.edu/jcws/vol6/iss2/6