Before going "live," Matthew vetted The Lab Online with 200+ SFSU BA and MFA students of Creative Writing. They rated and reviewed the sessions and Matthew edited them, according to feedback, to make The Lab Online inspiring and useful. That said, it's not a perfect match for everyone.
The sole purpose of The Lab Online is to get you to generate material that you would not have discovered on your own. Writers with several published books have taken The Lab, and it's also the place where many people have taken their very first writing class. The Lab Online and The Lab Live work for writers of all levels. Because it's less of a how-to and more of a creative practice that's taught, it works for everyone interested in writing more rooted, more compelling prose. Like other practices (yoga, for example), the more you practice and learn, the deeper you can go--but the same strategies (or postures) are relevant for the all so-called "levels." In The Lab Live, participants go by their first names, and no one reveals what they have or have not published. Because the work that's shared is newly-generated, it's often the "beginner" participants who're less bogged down by the "rules" of writing who share compelling and courageous work.
The Lab Online (like The Lab Live) is not a workshop in the traditional sense. You don't talk about what you like and don't like nor what should be cut or not cut. It's not a course where you'll receive extensive feedback. It's a place to generate new work or deepen existing projects.
Have we said that enough? We think accurate information = happy Labbers.
The six sessions have a loose narrative arc. You start by investigating and experimenting with the things that might be getting in the way of your best work. You finish by studying a revision practice. In the four weeks in between, we hope to inspire you to get surprising material on the page that transcends your blocks and gets something on the page worth revising. Beginners will not finish this particular course with an advanced vocabulary in craft--but they'll have words on the page. If you have an advanced craft vocabulary, you'll recognize the reminders.
For a variety of reasons, both practical and creative, participants are invited to turn in up to 500 words per session A small paragraph of response will be written by Matthew or veteran-"Labber" within a week of each of your 500-word pass-ins. Before signing up, you can get a good idea of what to expect by watching the course overview and all of the free warm-up videos. You can see for yourself if you'd like to generate new material and/or deepen your writing using this style of instructions and types of content/ideas. Matthew's generative sessions are imagined for people who write literary fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid forms.
Matthew believes all of the genres can be literary--if they explore difficult and unanswerable questions about the human experience. The Lab is not geared toward people with merely commercial interests. However, folks who write work some might deem less literary have also taken and enjoyed The Lab.
Once you've signed up, you'll be given a link and a code for a Google Classroom, which separates each of the 6 sessions into step by step sections. Please carefully read refund policies in the signup form before agreeing to them. All you'll need is a Gmail account and decent WiFi.
The Lab :: Writing Classes with Matthew Clark Davison is both 100% Online & Self-Paced. This course is designed to be accessible, convenient, and flexible, so you control your learning pace. You'll use streaming audio and video and embedded materials through the Internet. Communication with your instructor will take place through your course site online. You may pass in up to 500 words per session, and your instructor will provide brief feedback via written responses on your creative responses.
How is the self-paced course structured? This online self-paced course is asynchronous, meaning that you can work on your assignments anytime within your six-month window. There are no assigned due dates. The content is divided into six sessions. Each session will cover one or more topics. Within each of the learning session, you can expect the following components:
• A writing warm-up
• Videos and readings (textbook, articles, journals, websites, etc.) and presentations (audio and/or video).
• Two writing "deepening exercises" based on the readings and presentations.
• A challenge that helps you turn the material you gather into a form.
• An opportunity to post for feedback up to 500 words of the scene or poem (or whatever you write).
Please note: The Lab :: Writing Classes with Matthew Clark Davison offers free content in the form of "Jump-in; Warm-up" videos as well as recaps of previous sessions and cycles. These can be found by anyone by clicking around on the website and Facebook and Instagram. In the "News" section (and its archive), we often provide links to the materials presented in class. These can be used and studied by anyone. We frequently offer tuition discounts and free access by prior arrangement only. Notices for how to apply or qualify for discounts are shared in the newsletter and on social media. To increase the chances of genuine engagement with the content, discounts and tuition waivers are usually reserved for those who have already worked with Matthew.
Please enjoy these free warmups. To sign up for the full course, click "Register" at the bottom of the page.
All you'll need is a Gmail (must have the suffix gmail.com) account and decent WiFi.