Welcome to the Hattiesburg Writing Institute!
Ten years ago, author Michael Pearson asked me, “So, what are you doing for the rest of your life?” My answer: shrugged shoulders, and a blank stare at the ground. “Well, if you’re not doing anything else, apply to our creative writing program.” Since I wasn’t doing anything else, and was searching for something meaningful, and writers are meaningful, I applied. Even though there was no way I was good enough to be a professional writer.
Yet, Pearson’s question resonated with me. It nudged me out of inefficiency, and set me on a path of competency. Today, I am a full-time writer, Therapeutic Writing Institute student, journal and creative writing workshop facilitator, founder and CEO of Hattiesburg Writing Institute, LLC, and a Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL) educator. I am also in the process of editing my first novel, and building an author platform.
Over the past twenty years, I taught English at the primary, secondary, collegiate level; technical, and creative writing. As a Childcare Provider, I taught preschool age children reading and primary writing skills. As a substitute teacher, I taught second grade reading and writing skills at Lee Hall Elementary, high school English at Enterprise Academy, and Columbia High. At the college level, I tutored ESL, Regents, and first year college students at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Within WinC, the Writer’s in Community Program at Old Dominion University, I taught creative writing techniques in a classroom and workshop setting. In grad school, I also facilitated a couple of Women Studies courses.
As a teacher of writing, I emphasize the stages of the composing process: brainstorming, free-writing, writing, and revision. I teach students how to incorporate literary techniques into all forms of writing whether composing creative works, or academic essays. I teach students how to write expressively and rhetorically within the four modes of discourse: narration, exposition, argumentative, and research. I offer students an interdisciplinary education in a heuristic learning environment, so that academia can be translated to the real world.
I provide ongoing mentorship because I believe we cross paths with people for a reason, and that interaction impacts us. Author Micheal Pearson and Poet Luisa A. Igloria are my biggest influencers. Through education, mentorship, and support Pearson and Igloria instilled in me perseverance and need to do meaningful work, and has inspired my drive for success. When I struggle to feel good enough Luisa tells me, “Keep writing and dreaming.” So, I say the same to you. Whatever is in your heart to write, Keep writing and dreaming.
Also, I ask you to consider the same question Mike once asked me, What are you doing for the rest of your life? If your answer is: nothing, or I don’t know (shrug), then I say, Well, if you’re not doing anything else, apply to our creative writing program. HWI can be your new foundation.
Marion Thomas, CEO