Writing Creative Non-Fiction, My Favorite Class at Rowan University

Asiye studying inside of the library.

This story is a part of the “My Favorite Class” series.

As I complete my final semester here at Rowan University, I’ve taken a vast array of classes. Soon, I will receive my bachelor’s degree in Writing Arts, with minors in both Journalism and Creative Writing. Among the list of courses I have taken, I’d have to say that my favorite has been Writing Creative Non-Fiction with Professor Heather Lanier.

I took Writing Creative Non-fFction the fall semester of last year. The course helps writers dig deeper within themselves to tell their own stories while utilizing different creative elements. The main goal is to make these stories more attention-grabbing. However for myself personally, I found the course allowed me to fall back in love with creative writing.

For the majority of my semesters here at Rowan University, my energy was mainly channeled into the journalistic side of my written work. This was the intended career field I wanted to pursue work in after my graduation. This type of writing had become my centerfold with my student worker job as a Digital Content Creator, my freelance work for GameRant.com, and my past internship at Study Breaks Magazine. With that being said, having a seat in this class was a breath of fresh air and truly did remind me of why I started writing in the first place.

Asiye grabbing a book off of a book shelf.

Throughout the course, we had time set aside daily for prompt warmup freestyle writing, before going into the bulk of the coursework. One of the assignments we were given was to create flash memoirs, which was to write a short memoir about an impactful moment in our lives. Before going into this, we were given a series of flash memoir examples to give us inspiration, with Professor Lanier sharing some of her own work with us. During this section, we were advised to write three, and then we workshopped as a class as we worked toward the final revision process. Throughout this, I was able to read the work of my classmates, which doesn’t always happen in writing courses. While getting feedback from my own work, I was able to learn from the talents exhibited by the writers around me. I built connections with them through their work which meant so much to me.

Asiya sitting while typing on a computer.

As the course progressed, we were also told about how to enter our creative work into writing contests as well as different outlets we can look to for self-publishing opportunities. There are opportunities for publishing here at Rowan itself through Avant Literary Magazine as well as the Rowan Writing Arts Club. We had a guest speaker from the Philadelphia Inquirer named Devi Lockwood, who visited our class to discuss her recent memoir 1,001 Voices on Climate Change: Everyday Stories of Flood, Fire, Drought, and Displacement from Around the World. Lockwood shared some insight about her writing, and research, as well as ways students can get involved with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As the course came to a close we did a final creative assignment called an “Obsession Essay,” which I’d say over the past four years here at Rowan is the piece of writing I’m the most proud of. For my piece which I titled, “Girl In Pieces”, I discussed my journey with mental health throughout my lifetime. After sharing the piece with my class, I received praise and the tools I needed to revise to make the piece what it is now, and what I believe to be my best work.

Asiye working on a computer.

Nonetheless, as my time here at Rowan University begins to wind down, I will always remember and take with me the teachings and tools given to me during the Writing Creative Non-fiction course. For any Writing Arts students deciding whether or not to take the course, take it!!

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Written by: Asiya Robinson

Edited by: Jordyn Dauter, junior double major in dance & elementary education

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