Writers Inspiring Writers: Inside a Writer’s Salon
By Amy Sexton, Kaplan University Writing Center Tutor
The Writers’ Salon Series is a Kaplan University Center for Teaching and Learning event that helps to foster a community of writers. I was excited when the Center for Teaching and Learning asked me to take the lead on hosting and planning the Writers’ Salon Series and invite writers and readers across the university to meet and share works from their favorite authors or their own works.
Like many educators, I have always found writing inspiration in the works of my favorite authors. As a child, I fancied that I would grow up to write stories with strong female protagonists like Laura Ingalls Wilder. After studying sonnets in my college Shakespeare literature class, I tried my hand at crafting fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, with less than Shakespearian –like results, of course. The point, however, is that the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder and William Shakespeare, like Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Charlotte Bronte, Maya Angelou, and countless others, inspire me to write.
I was similarly inspired when I attended a couple of Writers’ Salon Series meetings in recent years. As I listened to other faculty members sharing favorite works from others or reading their own work, I found new inspiring authors. Most importantly, hearing from other professors and faculty who were writing and publishing helped me realize that I, too, could find the time and motivation to write. People just like me – colleagues, writing center tutors, and professors – were writing and publishing; surely, I could too!
Now as I plan for our meetings in 2014, I look forward to even more inspiration and hopefully rekindling my own creative writing through my work with this series. This year, we are also inviting faculty and staff to lead participants in an interactive writing activity at each meeting. This writing component is a new addition designed to give participants an opportunity for deliberate, focused writing and to spark creativity. What are some ways that you inspire and promote faculty writing and help create communities of writers on your campus?