Now. Write Now.

What a year it has been!

Since last September, MTSU Write has grown and expanded.  In spring we launched our Spring Saturdays series, reaching dozens of new local writers in master classes led by Dorothy Allison, Susannah Felts, Holly Tucker, and our own alum Tiana Clark. We wrote personal memoirs, learned how to use research, explored sexuality in poetry, and read our drafts OUT LOUD. Poetry in the Boro celebrated its first birthday as a well-established local event, complete with regulars.  Our own mentor Kory Wells was recognized as Murfreesboro’s first ever poet laureate for her talents on the page and her dedication to literary culture.  We have welcomed new students working in a variety of genres, and this fall we welcomed a new mentor in a new genre:  Andy Landis will begin mentoring in playwriting!

Our world has also changed. We have a new President and with him a new political climate. We find ourselves divided in so many ways, and each day the news and social media threaten new horrors, and report the ones we are already facing: terrorism, discrimination, unemployment, violence, mental illness, and natural disasters.  Even as I write this, from my coffee shop window, I am watching the edge of Irma creep into Tennessee while I periodically check reports on my friends in Texas and Florida. It’s hard not to become discouraged at a time like this.  Now.

But now is just the time for us. As Toni Morrison wrote in her 2015 article for The Nation, “In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”  She quotes an artist friend the day after George W. Bush was re-elected, a time when Morrison found herself too depressed to write.  He shouted, “No! No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!” Those words ring truer than ever now.  We have a responsibility to ourselves, our communities, our world to use the generative power of the written word to effect change where we can.

Writers are famous for our elaborate procrastination techniques, our litany of convincing excuses for not writing.  We wait for inspiration, for “the Muse,” “until we have enough time, until the time is right.” But we all know that’s bullshit. Real writers don’t wait around for inspiration or muses before sitting down at the desk to write. Novelist John Dufresne put it succinctly, “The muse comes to the desk; if you’re not there, too bad.”

So the truth is that for writers, there really is no better time than the present.  The present is the very reason we Must. Write. Now.

As we venture into the unknown realm of the future, MTSU Write stands strong its mission of connecting with writers of every genre from any location. The culmination of this objective falls on September 30 at the Creative Writing Conference, where writers and authors of all genres come together to refine their craft in various lectures and workshops. More information on the Fall Creative Writing Conference and how to register for MTSU Write can be found at Also, follow our social media platforms for more immediate information on sessions featured at the conference, information about our mentors, and our continued mission of creating the best writers that we can.

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Jennifer Wachtel Kates, Program Director and fiction mentor

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