CU Professor's Book on Writing is a Holistic Approach to Creativity
by Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18)
When picking up a book on writing, phrases like "soul vitamin" and "brain matter" are not the norm. In Professor of English Cynthia Beach's book "Creative Juices: A Splash of Story Craft, Process and Soul Care," they appear in almost every chapter.
"The book hones in on soul, process and craft," Beach said. "It's about nurturing the creative soul and creating a game plan."
Beach wrote "Creative Juices" because she saw a need for a more holistic approach to writing. "In order for a writer to write," Beach said, "they need to address these three areas."
The book is structured to include questions for the reader to journal about and action steps to take when facing challenges or thinking about mental roadblocks. Beach embraced the idea of "snackable content" in her book by incorporating small chapters and using stories as examples.
"We are glitchy as writers," Beach reflected. "We have to continually gain strategies and relearn process."
As far as her intended audience is concerned, Beach hopes that writers of any age read and digest this book. While she had her college-aged writing students in mind, she drew examples of writing from people her own age. She wrote the book to create more relevant content for her students and what they were struggling with. Beach also wrote the book as a faith-based approach to writing and addressed how Christian writers could directly or indirectly approach their faith in their writing.
One of Beach's favorite aspects of the book is that many alumni contributed to the book. The book was designed and edited by Cornerstone alumni, some of whom were students of Beach. These alumni include David Frees (M.A. ’06), Calli Mueller (B.A. ’17), Amy Nemecek (B.A. ’97), Julie Schwab (B.A. ’17) and Rob Keys (B.S. ’84). Current student McKenna Walter (B.A. ’20) was also involved.
So far, Beach's book has been used by her writing students and members of Word Weavers, a national writing organization that has local chapters in West Michigan. The book is available for purchase at Baker Book House or on Amazon. Learn more about Cynthia Beach and her writing at her website.