Pub. Date:
Bedford/St. Martin's
Habits of the Creative Mind

Habits of the Creative Mind

by Richard E. Miller, Ann Jurecic


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Habits of the Creative Mind

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.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781457681813
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Publication date: 10/01/2015
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 85,281
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

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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Habits of the Creative Mind 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
Adopting an innovative and refreshing approach to the standard college composition/rhetoric reader/manual, Miller and Jurecic have developed a writing guide that balances the value of constructive creativity in writing along with rhetorical acumen. Rather than pack their text with dozens of models of professional writing, Miller and Jurecic design each chapter as an invitation to consider and practice various aspects of a creative approach to composing texts of all kinds. Using simple chapter titles such as “Paying Attention,” “Asking Questions,” and “Connecting,” the authors model their craft by including within each chapter original essays (which they themselves co-wrote). These essays do not simply model the element of the constructivist approach to writing upon which they focus—the essays discuss how and why a given element (e.g., “encountering difficulty,” “imagining others,” or “learning from failure”) may be used as an integral aspect of developing productive writing habits. Each essay is followed by practice sessions (which are emphatically not essay assignments) and invitations to explore the element or aspect of writing as it used it models of professional writing, only three of which are found at the end of the text. By including a list of essays at the end of each chapter (most of which may be found free of charge on the Internet), the authors avoid producing a bulky text and—wisely—avoid copyright fees that would drive up the cost of their book. Freed of numbing and formulaic prescriptions for “effective writing,” students will enjoy this refreshing and liberating approach to composition. For example, Miller and Jurecic advocate writing that responds to author-generated questions, writing that explores and discovers—in effect, writing as thinking and learning—rather than writing that hews strictly to the development of a strategically positioned (and often banal) thesis statement that must appear at the end of a soporific introductory paragraph. This text strikes another welcome nail in the coffin of the five-paragraph theme. Instructors might find it a bit of a challenge to implement this book within a composition course, especially if the course curriculum is restrictively designed by some sort of departmental committee to meet a set of prefabricated standards. I suspect, however, that any effort to adopt Miller and Jurecic’s strategies will yield impressive results both in the quality of the writing that students will produce and in their attitude towards writing itself.