University of Iowa

Free-Writing Intensive: A Workshop for All Genres

Weeklong July 14 to July 19 2019

Most of us write a first draft the same way every time no matter the subject, falling into habitual patterns that either become unconscious or get mistaken for our “voice.” It is a lot like how we dance at parties: there are countless ways to move in space, and yet we wind up doing the same old two-step that (if we’re honest with ourselves) we’re sick of.

The Free-Writing Intensive is a week-long training in a task that is rarely taught, yet continually in our face: the act of filling a page. This impactful workshop (first introduced 10 years ago at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and since offered at conferences throughout the U.S.) opens the vault to a series of counter-intuitive and delightful techniques designed to alter our writing “DNA,” freeing us from obstacles that undermine creativity. We will start to recognize “doorways” that previously went unnoticed, portals of opportunity calling to be entered. Above all, we’ll learn how to surprise ourselves on the page—surprise being the key ingredient of any first draft (without which it’s senseless to revise). Participants of this workshop typically emerge with two valuable bi-products: 1) they become inoculated from “writer’s block”; 2) they go home with a prodigious volume of new material.

In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts.

All Genres