JasonMuses: Growing writers in Grayson with Carole Townsend

IMG_3037Despite the fact we all learn to write in school, the skill of writing well isn’t easy to learn. Writing is a craft. Writing is a passion. Writing is art.

Even blogging counts.

To write well, one must have proper instruction. That’s where local author Carole Townsend comes in. An accomplished polymath, Townsend is rare talent who excels at both speaking and writing. She brings her extensive knowledge of the craft to her class “The Business of Writing”, which runs Monday evenings at Grayson Coffee House for the next few weeks.

I was able to sit in on the introductory session, and came away impressed by Townsend’s curriculum and personal touch. While many teachers are happy to drill students with contentcontentcontent until eyeballs roll and ears bleed, Townsend lightens her material with several hands on exercises.

And unlike some of my college writing professors, she’s interested in nurturing each student’s personal voice. After an overview of the difference between voice, style and perspective, Townsend gave a simple writing assignment to help drive home her point. As her students completed their work, she stood close by, murmuring encouragement or the occasional suggestion. And when the assignments were read aloud, Townsend praised each while layering in helpful suggestions.

Like a doofus, I didn’t take notes.

IMG_3043Townsend makes the most of her time. The two-hour session, which introduced the overall arc of the 5-week course, touched on everything from blogging to article writing to book writing to pursuing publication. Townsend even sent each student away with homework: develop your own blog and research magazine markets of interest. Despite the dreaded homework, when the session came to a close her students stuck close to connect with Townsend the person. Such is the response to a good teacher.

As a writer, I enjoyed watching Townsend work. Her style is measured and deliberate. She paused for reflection often, working her thoughts over in her head to ensure they translated well. Teaching is similar to writing in many ways, with one main difference: there is no revision. Once words are loosed into the air, they are out and active, and Townsend’s thoughtfulness was in part due to her desire to land the right words with her pupils.

Of course, with anything she does, humor plays an important part. The funniest moment of the evening came as she searched high and low for her dry erase marker. A bit flustered, she looked in several places before it was pointed out that the marker was in her hand.

Her eye-roll response was worthy of Chaplin.

Townsend has taught her class before in Buford and other cities, but this her first foray into Grayson. Her class meshes well with the Grayson Arts & History Center’s new focus on art classes and the general vibe for all things creative that defines our city.

It makes sense–cultivating artists is one way to capture the soul of our city.

Townsend’s workshop will run each of the next four Mondays from 7-9PM at Grayson Coffee House. Space is still available, and interested parties can contact Townsend via her Facebook page, or through her website for more details.

Author: Jason

Jason Brooks is the owner and editor of Grayson Local. A resident of Grayson for over 14 years, he loves the Grayson community and the potential it holds. A former pastor, Jason now works as a freelance writer. He has written for The John Maxwell Company, North Point Ministries, The Ford Motor Company, Catalyst, and several regional magazines as well. You can follow Jason on Twitter (@JasonMuses).

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