Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Sam Cohen! Sam is teaching a section of Short Story I (reg# 385461) in our Remote Classroom format with weekly meetings on Zoom, starting Tuesday, April 5 this Spring. She sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.

What sparks your creativity?
Walks, art, film, scraps of conversations I’ve had, breakups, intimacy, the news, animals, my dreams.

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
I find it best to stick to a schedule and report to work on time like I would for any other job. Waiting for something like “inspiration” is a terrible trick–I’ve just got to sit down and open my Word Doc and put the hours in. If I’m just reading over stuff I’ve already written, that’s fine–but usually something in the document will shift or I’ll be typing new scenes and then I realize I’ve written. It can also help to have accountability to someone else–I’ve exchanged daily email check-ins with other writers, or met other writers at cafes to write once a week or so. It helps me to remember there are others doing this weird job.

What’s your favorite quote about writing?
EL Doctorow said ” ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Who do you wish you could write like?
I feel pretty happy to write like myself and I hope for my students to feel this way about their own voices, too, at least some of the time.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
It’s brave and cool to value your writing enough to take this class, and I’m excited to work with writers who are seeking to develop their work, take their craft more seriously, and find writing community.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I hope they leave with the feeling that the story they’ve worked on during these ten weeks is close to its final shape, that their voice is more clearly defined, that they have some new style and craft tools they’re excited to try, and that they’ve found some good readers they’ll keep exchanging work with in the future.

Thank you to Sam for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!

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