Mr. Ralph Keyes-Beyond Writing Anxiety
"BEYOND WRITING ANXIETY: HOW FACULTY AND STUDENTS CAN WRITE WITH MORE CONFIDENCE AND LESS INHIBITION"
Mr. Ralph Keyes, Writer & Author
Friday, April 30, 2004
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Center for Innovative Technology, Briefing Room
2214 Rock Hill Road
Herndon, Virginia 20170
All educators have to write, and encourage students to write. With so much emphasis being placed on writing across the curriculum, this is more true than ever. Yet, writing is an anxious business. Anxiety is routine among anyone who dares to put words on paper. The fact that this issue is seldom confronted directly is a major source of writing inhibition. Left to fester beneath the surface, writing nerves inhibit the teaching process at both ends, among teacher and student alike. The most inhibiting type of writing anxiety is the kind we do not acknowledge but which keeps us from actually sitting down to write.
To break this logjam - and write more freely - it helps to recognize that being nervous about writing is normal. whenever we feel uneasy about confronting the blank paper ("page fright") we are exactly where we ought to be: trying to say something worthwhile, yet anxious about not doing so as well as we would like. "If you're not scared, you're not writing, says seminar leader Ralph Keyes, author of The Courage to Write and The Writer's Book of Hope.
Why be scared? Inner censors for one thing. In this seminar, participants are encouraged to identify the censors that inhibit everyone's writing. These include fear of self-revelation, and anxiety about being criticized. In an affirmative, non-threatening manner, Keyes demonstrates how inner censors can be confronted, even put to work as part of the creative process. Although this seminar includes much discussion and "hands-on" exercises, they were not presented in a way that intimidates participants.
In addition, Keyes discussed his own inhibitions while writing 13 books, as well as those fears that confront nearly every writer who has ever sat down to record words on paper - including many noted authors whose cases he will discuss. The overall goal of this seminar was to convey the message that for those educators who can consider their own inhibitions about writing are those who are best equipped to understand the writing anxieties of students. It is these professionals who can then help their students transcend their anxieties empowering them to write with less inhibition and more confidence.
Biographical Sketch of Ralph Keyes
Ralph Keyes is the author of thirteen books. His bestseller Is There Life After High School?
was made into a Broadway musical that is still produced in this country and abroad. Chancing It
was New York Times
"Notable Book." Timelock,
was selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club and excerpted in Reader's Digest
. John Jakes called The Courage to Write
"one of the two or three best books on writing I've ever read."
Keyes has appeared on Oprah Winfrey, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, ABC World News Tonight, and twice on 20/20. On National Public Radio he has been interviewed several times on "All Things Considered," and by Terry Gross on "Fresh Air." People Magazine has featured Keyes twice. His own articles have been published by magazines such as Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Self, GQ, Newsweek, Parade, Sports Illustrated, Car and Driver, Harper's, and Human Behavior. An article he co-authored won the McKinsey Award for best article of the year in the Harvard Business Review.
After graduating from Antioch College in 1967, Keyes studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science. From 1968 to 1970 he was Assistant to the Publisher of Long Island's Newsday. Following a decade spent as a Fellow of the Center for Studies of the Person in La Jolla, California, Keyes did free-lance writing and lecturing in the Philadelphia area. He now lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his wife and two sons. There, Keyes writes, lectures, and is a Trustee of the Antioch Writers' Workshop. As a speaker Keyes has addressed a wide range of audiences, including corporate groups, professional gatherings, and educational programs. He belongs to the Authors Guild, and is a Fellow of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute. Keyes is listed in Who's Who in America and Contemporary Authors.
Assigned Readings Were:
_____. (2003). The courage to write. New York: Holt/Owl.
_____. (2003). The writer's book of hope. New York: Holt/Owl.
Other Recommended Readings
Baumbach, Jonathan. (1970). Writers as teachers, teachers as writers. New York: Holt.
Exley, Frederick. (1968). A fan's notes. New York: Harper & Row.
Gardner, John. (1999). On becoming a novelist. New York: Norton.
Karr, Mary. (1995). The Liar's Club. New York: Viking Penguin.
Lamott, Anne. (1994). Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life. New York: Pantheon.
Lerner, Betsy. (2000). The forest for the trees: An editor's advice to writers. New York: Riverhead.
Macrorie, Ken. (1970). Uptaught. New York: Hayden.
McCourt, Frank. (1996). Angela's ashes. New York: Scribner.
Nelson, Virginia. (1993). On writer's block: A new approach to creativity. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.
Santiago, Esmeralda. (1993). When I was Puerto Rican. New York: Addison-Wesley.
Ueland, Brenda. (1938 & 1984). If you want to write. St. Paul MN: Schubert Club.
Books Authored by Ralph Keyes
Chancing it: Why we take risks. (1990). Yellow Springs,
Ohio: David Scott.
Is there life after high school? (1977). New York:
Nice guys finish seventh: False phrases, spurious sayings, and familiar
misquotations. (1993). New York: HarperPerennial.
Timelock: How life got so hectic and what you can do about it. (1993). New York: Ballantine, 1993.
The courage to write. (1996). New York: Owl.
The height of your life. (1981). New York: Warner.
The post-truth era: Dishonesty and deception in contemporary life. (2004). New York:
The wit and wisdom of Harry Truman. (1999). New York:
The wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde. (1999). New York:
The writer's book of hope: Getting from frustration to publication. (2003). New
York: Henry Holt / Owl.
Sons on fathers: A book of men's writing. (1993). New
We, the lonely people: Searching for community. (1973). New York: Harper & Row.