Call for abstracts: Creative writing/ creative practice (book)
In “One Simple Word: From Creative Writing to Creative Writing Studies,” Tim Mayers argues that creative writing within the academy has bifurcated into two strands, one being more focused on craft and the on research (2009). Creative writing, as he puts it, is the “academic enterprise of hiring successful writers… to teach college-level creative writing courses,” whereas creative writing studies “is a field of scholarly inquiry and research.” He goes on to point out that the former is considerably more developed than the latter, which has largely concerned itself with questions of pedagogy. As editors, we tend to agree with this assessment; in fact, if anything this bifurcation may have become more entrenched, at least in the scholarship. Current practitioners who entered the discipline via the traditional workshop route will have been introduced to pedagogy in that context, and developed their craft there; and they will have furthered their knowledge via the abundant scholarship that exists on the subject. However, discussions on creative practice itself -- the work habits as well as the habits of mind; the relationship with reading; the orientation toward industry -- continue to rely on the writings of authors past and present. To the extent that this is discussed in academic papers, it tends to be as anecdotes presented in the service of whatever is being argued.
In The Scholarship of Creative Practice [this is a placeholder title], we aim to bridge this gap by asking creative writing scholars to reflect upon the practice of writing -- and in doing so, to keep discussions of the workshop and pedagogy in general to a necessary minimum. An idea Stephanie Vanderslice explores in her book Rethinking Creative Writing and we extend in our forthcoming collection Creative Writing Scholars on the Publishing Trade is that academic creative writing programs have begun to adopt a more pragmatic, industry-facing stance toward pedagogy: students of writing increasingly need and expect to complete their degrees at least moderately prepared to monetize the skills they have learned. However, a paradox exists in this configuration: if the workshop teaches craft but the academy is finally beginning to embrace outcomes pertaining to the trade, and if the scholarship is still perhaps overly concerned with pedagogy, where does that leave examinations of creative practice itself? Even if, as Mayers posits, academic creative writing is “a de facto employment program for writers who are unable to earn a living simply by writing,” the subtext in this statement is that these writers have managed to maintain some version of a creative practice at least up until the completion of their academic credentials and, one hopes, beyond. Yet discussion of this is somewhat lacking in the scholarship. Given that a creative commentary or exegesis is a required component of the PhD in creative writing, many practicing academics will have already done some degree of scholarly reflection on their own work. But why does there seem to be so little of it in the academic journals? What do scholarly practitioners have to say about their own work habits? How beholden are they to myth and superstition despite the best efforts of the academy to dispel these? How anxious are they about time management, workload, and demands to spend more time marketing work than producing it? How has social media influenced their practice, particularly in light of prevailing social movements such as #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter? We believe a focused, scholarly reflection on the topic of creative practice is both urgently necessary and long overdue.
Mayers, Tim. “One Simple Word: From Creative Writing to Creative Writing Studies.” College English, vol. 71, no. 3, 2009, pp. 217-228.
Meekings, Sam and Marshall Moore. Creative Writing Scholars on the Publishing Trade: Practice, Praxis, Print. Routledge, 2021
Vanderslice, Stephanie. Rethinking Creative Writing. The Professional and Higher Education Partnership, 2011.
If this is of interest, please send us an abstract (~250 words). The main point is that there have been plenty of books on the subject of pedagogy in creative writing but not nearly enough of them -- scholarly ones, anyway, that will bring this subject into the realm of academic discourse -- on creative practice. You are also welcome to query in case you think you have an idea but want to check to see whether we have it covered already. (The partial lineup of contributors is in place, but we are looking for a couple/few more in case interesting surprises come over the transom.) We will be looking for papers of around 4000 - 5000 words, and the deadline is expected to be summer 2022.
Please be sure to email us both: