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Charlotte Rains Dixon  

More About the Writer’s Loft

I wrote about my new gig as co-director of the Writer’s Loft in Tennessee on Friday, and I thought it would be good to post a bit more about it.  For the record, its a great writing program, and has proven to fill a need.  Say you are a busy professional who’s always had the writing bug but been forced to put it aside for those nagging little needs like career and children.  But now you’re ready to get back to it–except you really don’t have time to attend a class once a week. 

The Loft model works great in such situations, because it is focused one-on-one program that you can do anytime–at 6 in the morning when you awaken, late at night when everyone else is asleep, or in those stolen moment at lunch or on a coffee break.  It has also proven to be a great boon to people who want to apply for a MFA program but need to get their skills up.  Or maybe you just love to write and would like to have someone look at your work and advise you on it.  The Loft is a flexible program that suits a variety of needs. 

Here is some more information on it, and if you are interested, email me for info on when the next program begins and prices and all that. 

The Writer’s Loft

The Writer’s Loft is a low-residency certificate in creative writing program offered by the Department of Continuing Education at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.    The cornerstone of the Loft is the student-mentor relationship, which offers the writer the chance to engage in focused, critical study of his or her work.  The program also features a weekend orientation with lectures and panels, periodic tele-seminars, and other opportunities to build community among writers. 

Currently, a Writer’s Loft certificate can be earned in 18 months if each semester is taken sequentially or longer if the writer decides to take breaks.   It is also possible to sign up for the course on a semester by semester basis, and the aspiring writer who does not want or need to earn a certificate may find this option appealing.  While most of our students are in the mid-Tennessee area, we will also be starting a component to serve those in other regions of the country.

The mission of the Loft is to develop the student’s maximum skills, style, and voice as a writer in a supportive, encouraging, and open environment.  The goal is for the student to become the best writer that he or she can be at this point in his or her development.  To this end, the course of study is set through meetings between mentor and student, in which the student’s goals and current level of achievement are considered. 


The Writer’s Loft functions as a low-residency program.  What does this mean?  It is an increasingly popular style of teaching writing, with many MFA programs offering a low-residency option.  In a low-residency program, the student attends courses on location several times throughout the year and then returns home to complete the rest of the course assignments.  This works particularly well for writing, because the best possible way to learn writing is to spend as much time as possible writing.  Writers learn by writing, not by sitting in classrooms listening to people talk about writing.  Yet because writing is generally done alone, writers also crave community.  Low-residency programs address this need and also telescope writing instruction into one or more highly focused days. 

The Loft at a Glance

•Weekend Orientation with workshops, panels and other learning opportunities

•Focused one on one instruction

•Most course work completed at home on your own schedule

• Opportunity to be a part of a thriving writing community

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