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We hosted our very first Snacks & Skills of the 2019-2020 Fellowship last month. Patricia “Trish” Murphy sat down with our team at the big conference table on September 26 to facilitate her Place-based Writing Workshop. With a mashed potato bar and plenty of cookies, Trish led us through a learning experience none of us had ever tried.
She gave us a five-finger mnemonic for the writing process (specifically for prose):
Brainstorm: Create a simple list. Seriously. Create a list of ideas based on the topic.
Pro tip: Use nouns over adjectives.
Pro tip: “Write the face.” As you write, think about the five senses. Use sensory details to create emotional feelings, paint pictures and illuminate humanity.
Draft: Because of our time constraint, we reflected as part of the drafting process. Trish had us read over what we composed and then reflect on what was missing and add to our writing.
Edit: Be critical, and cut what isn’t necessary. Move sentences where they might make more sense.
Proofread: Read what you wrote. Check for grammar and punctuation.
Pro tip: Pay someone else to do it because you’ll probably miss something if you do it yourself.
Because Trish is the intentional and thoughtful faculty member she is, at the end of the workshop, she had us reflect on the entire experience. We shared our key takeaways and reflections about the process, including the impact on our work at UI. Although we often work under tight deadlines, we can adapt Trish’s process to help us improve the way we communicate and share information about the work we do. Thank you, Trish, for taking time from your busy schedule to spend with us making us more intentional and reflective writers.
Patricia Murphy is a Principal Lecturer at Arizona State University where she teaches magazine production and creative writing. Murphy earned her B.A. in English and French from Miami University and her MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Arizona State University. In 2008 she founded the literary magazine Superstition Review, which became her full-time teaching position at the university in 2012. Each semester she mentors 20-30 students through the steps of running the magazine including editing, blogging, advertising, and social media. Check out Trish’s award-winning book, Bully Love.