Habits of the Creative Mind

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-10-01
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Habits of the Creative Mind is not another textbook.  Instead, Habits of the Creative Mind is a series of guideposts taking your students off the beaten path of five paragraph essays and rote responses.  Portable and flexibly arranged, it works beautifully alone or as a supplement to other materials.  In this refreshingly conversational volume, your students will learn to trust and refine their own thinking and improve their writing—at all skill levels.  They will have access to Richard E. Miller’s and Ann Jurecic’s much acclaimed, truly unique  approach to posing and exploring questions, and facing complexity—in which there are no limits to how far a student may go with his or her thinking and writing.  Instantly accessible and instantly flexible, all your students need to do is dive in anywhere in the book and be ready to try something new.  And throughout, they will benefit from innovative, manageable exercises—which may be completed in any order—to help them along the way. 

In the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, the Council for Writing Program Administrators, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project all affirm the need to shift the emphasis in writing instruction to habits of mind.  This book answers that call—and gives your students the tools they need to rise to the occasion.


Author Biography

Richard E. Miller has written and lectured extensively on how digital technology is transforming higher education. He is an award-winning teacher, an avid blogger, an amateur graphic novelist, and a poet.

Ann Jurecic is the author of Illness as Narrative, which examines how writers, both literary and amateur, have used writing to make meaning of illness, loss, and impermanence. Her academic work explores the intersection of writing studies, literary studies, and the medical humanities. Jurecic is also an award-winning teacher and she writes a column for the medical journal The Lancet.

Richard E. Miller and Ann Jurecic teach at Rutgers University.

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors


   On Habits of Mind: A Letter to Students and Other Readers     
   On the Origins of Habits of the Creative Mind: A Letter to Teachers   


   On Unlearning     

   On Confronting the Unknown    

   On Joining the Conversation    

   Curiosity at Work: Rebecca Skloot’s Extra-Credit Assignment     

Paying Attention   

   On Learning to See   

   On Looking and Looking Again   

   On Encountering Difficulty   

   Curiosity at Work: David Simon Pays Attention to the Disenfranchised    

Asking Questions   

   On Asking Questions   

   On Writing to a Question    

   On Interviewing   

   Curiosity at Work: Michael Pollan Contemplates the Ethics of Eating Meat       


     On Going Down the Rabbit Hole   

    On Creative Reading   

     On Imagining Others   

   On Motivation   

   Curiosity at Work: Donovan Hohn Follows the Toys   


   On the Three Most Important Words in the English Language   

   On Writing by Formula   

   On Working with the Words of Others   

   Argument at Work: Michelle Alexander and the Power of Analogy   


   On the Miracle of Language   

   On Making Thought Visible   

   On Thinking Unthinkable Thoughts    

   Reflection at Work: Harriet McBryde Johnson and the "Undeniable Reality of Disabled Lives Well Lived"   

Making Space and Time   

   On Creative Places     

   On a Screen of One’s Own    

   On Solitude      

   Curiosity at Work: Alan Lightman and the Mind-Bending Multiverse    


   On Seeing as a Writer   

   On Reading as a Writer        

   On Self-Curation   

   Creativity at Work: Twyla Tharp and the Paradox of Habitual Creativity   

Planning and Replanning   

   On Structure    

   On Revising  

   On Learning from Failure   

      Curiosity at Work: Alison Bechdel and the Layered Complexity of the Graphic Narrative   


   On Argument as Journey   

   On the Theater of the Mind   

   On Curiosity at Work in the Academy   

   Argument at Work: Sonia Sotomayor and Principled Openness   


   On Writing’s Magical Powers    

   On Laughter     

   On Playing with Conventions    

   Creativity at Work: James McBride’s Serious Humor


Ta-Nehisi Coates, Fear of a Black President

Jill Lepore, The Last Amazon: Wonder Woman Returns

Susan Sontag, Looking at War



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